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Investigation into dragging death of Klahowya graduate continues

By RACHEL BRANT

Staff writer

Jerid Sturman-Camyn, a 2005 Klahowya Secondary School graduate, died Saturday, Nov. 24 as a result of “abrasions and lacerations of the body due to dragging,” according to Pend Oreille County Coroner Tom Metzger. Strangulation was determined to be a contributing factor to the young man’s death.

During a camping trip with friends in Pend Oreille County, 20-year-old Sturman-Camyn was dragged 13 miles behind a pickup truck driven by a 17-year-old boy. The eight men were drinking heavily when witnesses said Sturman-Camyn “lost control of his temper and repeatedly threatened those at the campsite with bodily harm” and armed himself with an axe, according to a Pend Oreille County Sheriff’s Office news release. Wendell Sinn Jr., of Newman Lake, Wash., reportedly feared for his safety and those at the campsite, so he placed a rope around the trailer hitch of the pickup truck and around Sturman-Camyn’s neck. He reportedly told the 17-year-old driver to drive away, unknowingly dragging Sturman-Camyn for miles and causing his death.

Sturman-Camyn’s family released a statement earlier this week expressing their feelings for the young man and gratitude for the community’s support: “Jerid was a very special person who touched the lives of many. He was a wonderful young man who would give the shirt off his back for anyone. The outpouring of support by his many friends and the community attest to his character.”

Sturman-Camyn was a standout athlete at Klahowya, earning the Central Kitsap Reporter’s 2005 Male Student Athlete of the Year award. He excelled as a linebacker on the football team, being named the Nisqually League’s Defensive MVP his senior year. As a wrestler, he earned the then-highest state placement in KSS history, taking second place at 189 pounds as a senior. He also placed seventh in 2004.

“Jerid was passionate about sports, hunting and fishing. He lived out his love for his family and friends. Jerid was in daily contact with his family just checking in and making sure everyone was doing OK,” Sturman-Camyn’s family stated. “He was the best big brother to five younger brothers and sisters. He meant the world to his cousins who looked up to him for who he was. There are hundreds of people all over the Northwest who know Jerid for the big-hearted kid that he was.”

The Pend Oreille County Coroner’s Office performed an autopsy on Sturman-Camyn Monday, Nov. 26, and a toxicology report will be available in a couple of months, according to Metzger.

“There will be a full lab work-up done,” he said.

Sinn Jr. was booked into the Pend Oreille County Jail for second-degree murder and posted bail earlier this week. At this point in the investigation, the 17-year-old boy who drove the truck is not being charged.

“At this point we don’t believe he knew what had happened,” said Sgt. Alan Botzheim, Pend Oreille County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.

The Washington State Patrol’s Crime Investigative Division is assisting the Pend Oreille Sheriff’s Office with the ongoing investigation. Officials continue to interview and re-interview the involved parties.

“We’re still doing some more interviews and processing some evidence,” Botzheim said. “It was a pretty traumatic night for everyone involved.”

Sturman-Camyn’s family stated that “no one deserves what happened to Jerid and we expect justice for the inhumane treatment that he had to endure.”

A memorial service for Sturman-Camyn is scheduled for 1 p.m. today, Dec. 1, at Crosby Chapel in Seabeck. An online guest book can be viewed and signed at www.rill.com.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Klahowya Secondary School, P.O. Box 8, Silverdale, WA 98383, in the name of Jerid’s Athletic Fund. The fund will offer financial assistance to student athletes.

“Jerid’s passing has left a huge hole in the hearts of many. His parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, extended family and many friends will hold his memory forever in their hearts and minds,” Sturman-Camyn’s family stated. “We want to thank all of our friends and family who have supported and prayed for us at this sad time.”

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