SOUTH FORK— Police Chief Don McDonald announced Monday, Feb. 19 that two major cases that came from the South Fork area were in the final stages of court proceedings.
The first case he spoke of was an embezzlement case from the Rainbow Grocery store. In September of last year, the case gained regional attention after word about the incident spread. Matilee and Aaron Brown were charged with felony embezzlement and theft as of Sept. 25 during a court proceeding where they waived their right to a preliminary hearing. McDonald stated that both parties waived their right to a jury trial and have plead guilty to all counts.
According to sources, Matilee Brown worked for the Blimpy Gas Station for an estimated seven years before requesting to be transferred to the office in the Rainbow Grocery Store and proceeded to embezzle funds, a little at a time with her husband Aaron. When the Flemings became aware of the missing money, they contacted law enforcement in South Fork at the time, to which there was no response. It wasn’t until McDonald was made aware of the case, that action was taken against the two suspects, who are now in custody.
Carole Fleming explained that when they made a decision to help a family member pay for college, they became aware of the missing funds and made a complaint to local law enforcement which was ignored. McDonald took the case over when he was elected chief and proceeded to investigate until the Browns were in custody.
“I will always remember when I first started looking into the case; the previous individuals working the case told me that I would never be able to get a conviction. I did just that,” said McDonald. He stated that both would be sentenced in the next few weeks and the case would be closed.
The other case that gained national attention was a sexual assault case involving an eight-year-old child. McDonald stated that though he did not know exactly where the case stood within the court proceedings, he was positive that the case would soon be closed as well. “I know that there are two hearings coming up in March and April for the accused and that they are moving to trial. We have enough evidence through the district attorney and FBI to cinch this case up and that to me is everything,” said McDonald.
In November 2016, the CBI was requested by South Fork Police Chief Don McDonald to assist with a complex sexual assault investigation. Following an extensive investigation by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the South Fork Police Department, four arrests were made involving incidents of sexual assault against a child.
Those arrested include Mario Dominguez (DOB: 03/15/1991) of Del Norte, being held on $175,000 bond at the Rio Grande County Jail; Cristal Middleton (DOB: 06/22/95) of Alamosa, being held on $100,000 bond at the Rio Grande County Jail; Victor White (DOB: 03/18/1961) of Del Norte (who hung himself last June at the Rio Grande County Jail) and Helen Price (DOB: 08/31/1960).
The suspects face multiple charges related to the ongoing sexual assault of the victim. Investigators have not released details about the connection between the child and the suspects in an effort to protect the identity of the victim. The crimes took place at an apartment complex in South Fork.