“California DOJ criminalists assist numerous law enforcement departments in this state with crime scenes and forensic work. They are also called upon to testify in the courtroom. They are an excellent resource for investigators and great contributors to criminal justice.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
COVELO - On September 4, 2021 at about 1:30 a.m., the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office dispatch center began receiving calls concerning a reported assault and possible kidnapping somewhere in Covelo. The reports initially identified cousins Christopher Bettega and William Bettega as victims. At the time of the calls, the location of William Bettega was not known.
While Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies were responding to Covelo, a separate call for service regarding a deceased person was dispatched. The Covelo Fire Department had been dispatched to an injured male on the roadway near the intersection of Crawford Road and Henderson Road. Upon their arrival, it was determined the male was deceased and the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was requested to respond.
When deputies arrived at the deceased male's location, it was believed based on evidence located at the scene that the person, later identified as William Bettega had been struck by a vehicle. Mendocino County Sheriff's Office detectives were then dispatched to the scene. Based on the suspected nature of the death, Sheriff's detectives requested and were assisted by an investigator from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Northern Division Investigation Services Unit.
A patrol deputy assisting Sheriff's detectives located a vehicle in the Short Creek drainage just east of Biggar Lane in Covelo. Evidence consistent with a recent collision involving a pedestrian was located on the exterior of the vehicle. The vehicle was identified as being primarily utilized by Christopher Bettega.
Several people were contacted and interviewed over the next four days during the course of this investigation.
On September 8, 2021, Sheriff's detectives served a search warrant at a home near the intersection of Biggar Lane and Mendocino Pass Road in Covelo. At the conclusion of the search warrant (based on the information learned during the investigation) Christopher Bettega was arrested for 187 PC (Murder).
The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office is thanking California Department of Justice Eureka and Santa Rosa Bureau of Forensic Services criminalists; CHP Garberville and CHP Ukiah offices; CHP Northern Division ISU and Multi-Disciplinary Investigation Team (MAIT) and the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office investigators for their continued assistance during this investigation.