County investigating Horse Heaven Hills incident

Inconsistencies plague case


A Life Flight crew carries out the rescue on Sunday.

— The Benton County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an incident that required a local man to be airlifted Sunday from the Horse Heaven Hills.

Anthony Jesse Meza, 36, told dispatchers he had been assaulted by two men, who had stolen his vehicle and forced him to remove his clothes, except for his boxers and socks, records show.

Meza was found north of Perrault Road after a three-hour search.

“There are a lot of inconsistencies and we are continuing to investigate,” Undersheriff Jerry Hatcher said. “He said he was carjacked, but there’s absolutely no proof. We just don’t have a lot of answers, yet.”

A helicopter airlifted Meza due to a leg injury and hypothermia, Hatcher said. During the rescue, the crew spotted Meza’s 2003 Nissan Pathfinder in a ravine.

Meza later told deputies he jumped out of the driver seat of the Pathfinder just as it went over a cliff because the men in the vehicle with him threatened him.

Detectives returned to the scene Monday and found Meza’s clothing, Hatcher said. They also found his phone in the vehicle.

Seven agencies responded to Meza’s call for help.

They included West Benton Fire and Rescue, Benton County Sheriff’s Office, Benton County Fire Protection District No. 2, Fire District No. 5, state Department of Fish and Wildlife, Life Flight Network and Prosser Emergency Medical Services.


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