FORKS — An investigation into the alleged harassment of a Spokane family, who said they were confronted in a Forks parking lot before their campsite was barricaded with felled trees, was jump-started after the Sheriff’s Office was able to get in touch with a family member.
Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King said the woman, whose partner, her partner’s mother and daughter traveled June 3 in their converted white school bus to Forks, was traveling and unavailable for the last week, since their visit in Forks, until Tuesday evening. Deputies interviewed the family on June 3 but the new contact provided more details, they said.
The woman, who was not identified, provided photos from the incidents that should help in the investigation, King said.
“A lot of complications came from our inability to recontact our victims, especially when the greater concern from the deputy at the time was to assist them in leaving the area, and the fact that, after they left, and us trying to recontact them to begin the deeper investigation.”
King said preliminary findings of the investigation indicate that the family members were not threatened with bodily harm at the parking lot, so criminal charges likely would not result from what occurred there, but actions directed against them at the campsite were illegal.
“We do know there were criminal acts in close proximity to where they were camping,” King said.
The family reported being accosted in the Forks Outfitters-Thriftway parking lot the afternoon of June 3, by several people who asked them repeatedly if they were members of Antifa, a leftist umbrella group of activists who confront far-right-wing groups.
The family answered that they were not members of Antifa. They said they were followed 5 miles from the parking lot to their campsite on U.S. Forest Service land, where they said they heard gunfire and where trees were illegally cut down to block their exit.
“We are aware that the family saw weapons, generally, during the course of the event, and when people were following them, they made reference to people holding weapons,” King said. “We need to clarify how those weapons were being carried.”
King said malicious mischief and disorderly conduct charges could grow out of the campsite incident, and that harassment may have occurred related to gunfire in that area, including allegedly at a bridge the family was unable to cross because of the obstructive trees. He said the campsite was near a gravel pit where weapon fire is common.
King said the family, which lives in their bus, came to the Forks area to visit Lake Crescent and to experience first-hand the setting for the blockbuster book and movie series, Twilight.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].