By Larry Judkins
Glenn County Observer
Warning: The following report includes rough language and disturbing descriptions.
As complex as it was from the very start, there is clearly even more to the Brandon Dawson murder case than first met the eye.
In early 2019, Dawson was having a number of problems with the law, but managed to stay one step ahead of officers in both Oregon and northern California.
In January of that year, he was the suspected driver of a vehicle involved in a highspeed chase in Corning. During the pursuit, Dawson reportedly jumped from the moving vehicle and fled on foot, getting away.
Then, in February of 2019, he managed to make it to Oregon, where a relative lived. On Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, while a man was waiting in a parking lot in Coos Bay to buy a Canadian gold coin from someone, Dawson approached the would-be gold buyer’s vehicle, pulled out a gun, and tried to get in.
Fortunately, the vehicle was locked. The gold buyer put his vehicle in drive and sped away, calling 911 a while later.
Law enforcement officers in both Oregon and California stepped up their search for him. Apparently, Dawson returned more or less immediately to Glenn County.
At about 10 p.m. on Feb. 26, 2019, Orland police officers, CHP officers, and Glenn County Sheriff’s deputies attempted to stop Dawson in the area of 221 East Shasta Street. He fled first in a vehicle, then on foot, successfully evading law enforcement officers again.
Unfortunately, others were more ruthless or skilled – or perhaps just luckier – in capturing Dawson. Much of the information that follows comes from the statement of probable cause for a search warrant associated with the murder case.
On March 10, 2019, Glenn County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Thompson was dispatched to a call for service regarding a missing person, Brandon Dawson. Deputy Thompson was told by Dawson’s mother, Kelli Skidmore, and Dawson’s girlfriend, Ashley Heitland, that they last saw Dawson on March 8, 2019, at about 5:15 a.m.
Skidmore told Deputy Thompson she and Heitland went to 4584 County Road G, west of Orland, the home of Michael Paul Oliveira. Dawson was staying there and this is where Skidmore and Heitland last saw him.
Skidmore told Deputy Thompson she saw three “large” white adult males with Oliveira. The men appeared to be mad and Dawson was afraid.
According to Deputy Thompson’s report, Dawson told Skidmore and Heitland to leave the residence, which they did. Skidmore told Deputy Thompson she had not heard from or had contact with Dawson since that morning on March 8.
Detective Lopeteguy and other investigators later learned that Kelli Skidmore was not actually present when Dawson was last seen alive at Oliveira’s residence. However, Ashley Heitland apparently was.
Heitland told Deputy Thompson she returned to Oliveira’s residence to see Dawson later on March 8. She told Thompson she noticed Dawson’s car, a blue 2006 BMW 4-door, was parked at Oliveira’s residence.
Heitland told Deputy Thompson she spoke with Oliveira and he told Heitland that Dawson went to Redding with a woman. According to Deputy Thompson’s report, Heitland found this strange due to the fact that Dawson’s BMW was still at Oliveira’s residence.
Heitland told Thompson she confronted Oliveira and told him she was going to “call the cops.” She then left Oliveira’s residence but did not call law enforcement.
Heitland said she returned to Oliveira’s residence at about 9 p.m. She told Deputy Thompson that Dawson’s BMW was no longer at Oliveira’s residence.
Heitland said she spoke with Thomas Gilbert, Oliveira’s stepfather and the owner of the property, and he told her Oliveira left that day, riding his motorcycle. He also said that Oliveira’s girlfriend, Brittany Douglas, followed him, driving Dawson’s BMW.
Heitland told Deputy Thompson she had not heard from Dawson since the morning of March 8.
On March 10, 2019, Deputy Thompson went to 4584 County Road G and spoke with Thomas Gilbert, who told the deputy he knew Dawson, but Dawson did not live at this residence. Gilbert told Thompson he last saw Dawson about two or three weeks in the past.
Gilbert said Oliveira left the residence on March 8, on an orange motorcycle. He also said Brittany Douglas followed Oliveira in the BMW.
Gilbert told Deputy Thompson that Oliveira was associated with a motorcycle club based in Red Bluff. He added that Oliveira often goes for long rides with them.
Deputy Thompson completed a missing person report and entered Dawson into the Missing and Unidentified Persons System. Due to the suspicious circumstances around the event, Thompson had Glenn County Sheriff’s Communications “ping” the location of Dawson’s cell phone.
It was last listed as active at 5:45 a.m. on March 8 at Fifth and Shasta Streets in Orland.
Detective Lopeteguy later learned that Oliveira and girlfriend, Brittany Douglas, were located in Yuba City with the 2006 BMW Dawson recently purchased. This vehicle was towed by law enforcement for evidence purposes and was preserved for future examination.
On April 8, 2019, Detective Lopeteguy spoke with Investigator Steven Cushman, who said a confidential citizen informant (CCI) gave him information regarding Brandon Dawson’s disappearance. The CCI told Cushman that Dawson was murdered at Michael Oliveira’s home near Orland.
The CCI alleged a person believed to be Lane Walker shot and killed Dawson with the help of Stanley Scott Grundy. According to the CCI, Dawson was handcuffed at the time of his death.
After the murder, and while they were still at Oliveira’s residence, Dawson’s body was burned. Using Grundy’s vehicle, Dawson’s body was then supposedly transported from Oliveira’s home to an unknown location.
According to the CCI, Clayton Humphrey was called to assist with Dawson’s disposal. Humphrey later assisted by dismembering and burying the body.
After Dawson was buried, Walker, Humphrey, and Grundy reportedly burned their clothing at an unknown location. Humphrey did not burn the boots he was wearing.
The next day, April 9, the CCI guided law enforcement officers to a wooded pond area at Viola and Barham Avenues near Gerber, Tehama County. The CCI told Investigator Cushman the shovel used to dismember and bury Dawson’s body was discarded at this location.
According to the CCI, the shovel had a broken red handle. That same day, Detective Greg Felton went to the area of Viola and Barham and found a shovel there.
According to Detective Felton, this shovel matched the description given by the CCI, right down to the broken red handle. Felton collected the shovel and logged it into evidence.
The CCI told Investigator Cushman that Stanley Scott Grundy lived in Tehama County near Gerber Road and Truckee Avenue. The CCI said Grundy lives in a trailer at this property.
A photo of a gray Dodge van was later found. Detective Lopeteguy investigated and learned the van was registered to Grundy.
Detective Lopeteguy went to Truckee Avenue and Gerber Road. He searched the area and found a vehicle similar to the one in the photo.
At the time, Lopeteguy was not able to confirm the license plate without exposing himself as a law enforcement officer. Grundy’s actual residence at 22630 Rodeo Avenue is two roads south of Gerber Road, very close to the location the CCI described.
While surveilling the area, Detective Lopeteguy saw a green Harley-style motorcycle and several trailers and RVs. He also saw a man whom Lopeteguy recognized as Grundy.
Grundy was standing near the green motorcycle and an RV trailer, east of the main entrance and near the gray van. Detective Lopeteguy noticed Grundy was wearing a Crossroads Motorcycle Club “Kutte” (black leather vest).
On April 15, 2019, Detective Lopeteguy drafted a search warrant for the Rodeo Avenue address. Three days later, assisted by several law enforcement agencies, the detective responded to the address and executed the search warrant.
While there, Lopeteguy located and seized (among other items) a gray 2010 Dodge Caravan SE. The vehicle was taken to the Glenn County Sheriff’s evidence yard, where it was eventually searched for evidence of Brandon Dawson’s murder.
Detective Lopeteguy later spoke with Detective Felton, who told him the FBI conducted a search and found a Garmin brand Nuvi model GPS unit inside the van. The FBI and Lopeteguy were aware this GPS device was not part of the warrant to be searched and seized, and although it was not collected, it remained in the van while the van was still in the custody of the Glenn County Sheriff’s Office.
Meanwhile, on April 16, 2019, Brandon Dawson’s body was found in a rural area of Colusa County. His hands had been forcibly removed and he was burned.
A piece of plastic consistent with a shovel handle was found near the body, which was consistent with the CCI’s statement.
On April 19, 2019, Glenn County Detectives Charles Barnes and Kelly Knight contacted Clayton Humphrey in the Tehama County Jail, who was in custody on an unrelated matter. Earlier that month, Tehama County Sheriff’s deputies responded to reports of a person firing shots from a motorcycle in the area of Valley Vista Drive.
Authorities identified the suspect’s vehicle as a black and red Harley Davidson, which was reported seen at the Econolodge in Corning shortly after the incident. Deputies found the motorcycle in the area of Highway 99 and Olivewood Drive and attempted to conduct a traffic stop.
The suspect did not stop and attempted to flee the officers, reaching speeds of more than 100 miles per hour. During the chase, the suspect threw a firearm from the vehicle in the area of Olivewood Drive.
The motorcycle came to a stop at a home on Flournoy Avenue and deputies were able to detain the driver, Clayton Shane Humphrey, 37, of Corning. A sheriff’s K-9 helped locate the firearm that was discarded on Olivewood Drive.
The reporting parties identified Humphrey as the suspect who shot at them several times on Valley Vista Drive. The victims were not struck by the rounds and were not injured.
Humphrey was booked into the Tehama County Jail on charges alleging attempted murder and evading a police officer with wanton disregard for safety.
At the start of the interview with Humphrey on April 19, Detective Knight read Humphrey his Miranda warning. Humphrey said he understood his rights and chose to speak to the detectives.
Humphrey stated that on the night before the day Dawson went missing, Grundy and Walker came to his house to drop off some marijuana. They told Humphrey they were going to help Michael Paul Oliveira collect some money.
Humphrey said Grundy came and talked to him early in the morning Dawson went missing (March 8). He said Grundy told him he needed his help to dig a hole.
Grundy asked him to help dispose of a body. Grundy asked him to drive his (Grundy’s) truck because of his knowledge of the woods and “places.”
Humphrey said they drove from his house at 22950 Flournoy Avenue up into the hills of Colusa County, using Highway 20, then onto a road right before the hills. Humphrey thought the name of the ranch there was Three Rivers Ranch, Three Creek Ranch, or something similar.
Grundy needed him because Grundy wasn’t sure he could find his way back to the body, and he knew he could trust Humphrey, and he could help him dig a hole.
Humphrey said Dawson’s body was already there, lying in the wide spot, when they arrived in the hills. There was nothing else around the body, no tarps or bags or anything else.
Dawson was lying face down in a hogtied or “reverse fetal” position – that is, with his hands cuffed behind his back. The body was burnt and looked as though it had been burned there in the wide spot by a stack of rocks, or fire pit.
Humphrey believed diesel was used to burn the body because he did not smell gasoline.
This was relatively close to where they buried Dawson.
They were supposed to bring bolt cutters to remove the handcuffs. Instead, they stopped at the Willows Walmart on their way to the hills and bought a shovel and a battery-operated Dremel tool.
Humphrey said Grundy’s fingerprints were on the handcuffs and they needed to get the cuffs off, but the Dremel did not work so they used the shovels and knives to remove Dawson’s hands and collect the handcuffs. Humphrey said Grundy had a plastic grocery bag with him and that is where the handcuffs went, along with a black Carhart jacket Humphrey had been wearing and the knives they used.
Grundy took the bag with him when he left Humphrey’s house after they returned from the hills very early in the morning of March 9.
According to Humphrey, Michael Paul Oliveira is the person responsible for the homicide. Humphrey said he believed it was over a personal issue.
Humphrey could tell from the time Oliveira wanted to join the Crossroads Motorcycle Club that he wanted to a “shot caller.” He felt Oliveira used the club to do his dirty work.
Humphrey explained that Oliveira was supposed to collect some money from Dawson. Dawson owed Oliveira money, and Oliveira owed the club money for a motorcycle.
On May 23, 2019, Investigator Cushman submitted a request to the FBI, apparently for help with cell phone data, and on June 3, 2019, he authored four search warrants for the major cellphone carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile). On July 24, 2019, Cushman received a return from FBI Special Agent Michael Easter, breaking down geographical locations of cell phones when those devices made or received calls.
The report appeared to show Grundy’s cellphone traveling north on Interstate 5 from Colusa County. This is consistent with statements made by witnesses alleging that Grundy and Walker traveled back from Colusa County after disposing of Dawson’s body.
Data from Humphrey’s cellphone indicate that Humphrey was traveling south in the early morning hours of March 9. Humphrey was in Orland at 3:21 a.m., 3:36 a.m., and 3:42 a.m.
There were cellphone hits in Willows at 3:43 a.m., 3:53 a.m., 4:26 a.m., and 4:27 a.m. There was a hit in Maxwell at 7:52 a.m., which appears to be on the return trip due to the fact that the next hit was in Corning at 8:29 a.m.
This information confirms Humphrey’s statement of being recruited by Grundy to travel back to the location where Grundy and Walker allegedly dumped Dawson’s body.
Very early in the morning of July 29, 2019, Michael Paul Oliveira, 45, of Orland, was shot to death as he sat in the living room of 617 North Shasta Street, Willows, the home of convicted felon Jamie Barbeiro. Oliveira had reportedly arrived at the Barbeiro residence unexpectedly, something Barbeiro said was not unusual, but she and her roommate, Nikki Marquez, invited him to stay for dinner.
After both women left Oliveira alone in the living room, Barbeiro heard multiple gunshots. She went out from the kitchen to the living room and found that Oliveira had been shot.
He was lying on the floor on his left side with the back of his head resting against the brick fireplace hearth and a baby bassinette on top of him. He had an apparent gunshot wound to his head and several spent shell casings were found in the room.
Some law enforcement officers have said the Oliveira murder was not connected to the Dawson murder, but the baby bassinette strongly suggests this is not true. As one Facebook user, apparently Ashley Heitland, posted not long after the killing:
“Karma is a bitch. Now his [Michael Oliveira’s] girl who was THERE [by which the Facebook poster apparently means the location where it was believed Dawson was murdered] who KNEW he was killing my daughter’s dad and the love of my life [that is, Brandon Dawson] is PREGNANT and has to bring a baby into the world without a father….”
On Sept. 3, 2019, Detective Lopeteguy and Investigator Cushman met with Lance Wayne Son Jr., President of the Crossroads Motorcycle Club. Before meeting with Son, Lopeteguy spoke with the Tehama County District Attorney’s Office regarding the cooperation of Son.
Arrangements were made with the Tehama County D.A.’s Office, the Tehama County Sheriff’s Office, the Glenn County District Attorney’s Office, and investigators from the Glenn Investigations and Narcotics Task Force (GLINTF). In exchange for Son’s written and spoken statements, as well as his possible testimony during trial, the arrangement would allow Son to be released from custody and placed on an ankle monitor until he was sentenced to county prison for his pending charges.
Since then, Son was convicted of transportation of methamphetamine with a prior conviction, possession of a billy club, and possession of a controlled substance for sale (all felonies). Son had been arrested during a probation search of a residence, in which several ounces of methamphetamine, a digital scale, and various other drug paraphernalia were found.
Son stated he owned the methamphetamine. Another quarter-pound of meth was found in the kitchen.
He was on formal probation in other cases and violated the terms of probation by possessing controlled substances for sale.
Son told Detective Lopeteguy and Investigator Cushman that he had known Dawson for about a year, maybe less. He said he first met Dawson in Orland, when he was introduced to him by a girl named Skye (also known as “Twisted”), who was staying with the Skidmores.
Skye told Son that Dawson needed help. Son said he spent a couple of days running around with Dawson, and after that they would occasionally hang out together.
Son said the history between Oliveira and Dawson was that they would bicker back and forth at each other all the time. Son said one day Dawson would be upset with Oliveira and the next day Oliveira would be upset with Dawson.
Son said it would always work itself out and they would be friends, like brothers. Son never saw them fight physically.
Son said he was released from jail in late February, 2019, and Dawson had called him. Son said the phone call took place shortly before Dawson was murdered.
Dawson called to ask Son if he could borrow a Tech 9 pistol. Son told him no, but Dawson then asked for an AR-15.
Son again told him no, then asked Dawson how he even knew about the AR-15. Dawson said he had seen it at Oliveira’s house.
Dawson said, “I am just going to take it.”
Son told him, “No, don’t just take it.”
Later that evening, Dawson showed up at Son’s house. Son said they were just hanging out, “chopping it up,” talking about life.
Dawson was harping about a gun, so Son gave him a small caliber handgun and Dawson left.
The next day, Brittany Douglas, Oliveira’s live-in girlfriend, called Son and yelled at him. Douglas told Son that Dawson went into their house and took the AR-15.
Douglas wasn’t home at the time but Oliveira’s friend, Rob, was at the house when Dawson came over and took it. Douglas told Son that Oliveira was “pissed.”
Son called Dawson several times before he finally answered. Dawson said, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll bring it back.”
Dawson told Son he needed a large caliber gun because he had a job to do that night. Son said he didn’t know who or what Dawson was planning to rob.
Oliveira called Son and was ranting and raving about Dawson always taking stuff from his house. Son told Oliveira not to worry about it because Dawson will bring it back.
Later that night or early the next morning, Dawson called Son, telling him, “I got it. I got him.”
Son told Dawson to take the gun back to Oliveira, but Dawson said he couldn’t because Oliveira was still mad at him. Dawson called again and asked Son again what he should do with the gun.
Son again told him to take it back to Oliveira, and “bless him with a little bit. If you came up like that, just bless him a little bit and give him a peace offering.”
The next afternoon, Oliveira called Son and said Dawson was at his residence, but he would not come in the driveway. Son told Oliveira to tell Dawson to come in the driveway.
Son could hear Oliveira call to Dawson, and he heard Dawson answer, “Fuck that. You’re still pissed. I know you. You’re mad. I’m leaving it at the gate.”
Dawson then called Son and told him he left everything by the gate. Son did not see Dawson again for a few days.
Dawson eventually called Son, all “jacked up,” saying he was late and Heitland was “up his ass” again. Dawson was going to go get Heitland and himself a hotel room.
Dawson told Son he was going to stop by afterwards. Son said Dawson did not come by and he never heard from him again.
Son spoke to Heitland about what had happened that day. Heitland told Son she was with Dawson the morning he went missing.
Heitland also said she was worried about Dawson that morning because there were guys in Oliveira’s house standing around in the kitchen, smoking meth, and it made her uncomfortable. Heitland said Dawson got up and was being “one of the boys” and it made her mad.
Because of the dim lighting, she could not identify any of the people.
She told Son she tried to get Dawson to leave with her but he decided to stay because she had to go to work. That was the last time she saw him.
After Heitland left, the guys got “good and high,” and Oliveira picked a fight with Dawson. Oliveira was getting beat up so John Poldervaart jumped in to help him.
Oliveira stood back and Poldervaart got pinned against the wall. Poldervaart asked the others to help him and from there, it was a free-for-all in Oliveira’s living room.
They handcuffed Dawson and took turns beating him. Son said Poldervaart was the one who put the handcuffs on Dawson.
Son said he did not know how long they beat Dawson. He said Dawson was still conscious and “talking shit.”
Son said they did not know what to do with Dawson after the fight. Son said there was mention of taking Dawson to Glenn Medical Center in Willows.
They put down plastic and bed sheets in the van. Dawson was hogtied, handcuffed, and covered up when they put him in Grundy’s van. Grundy, Walker, and Poldervaart got in the van and, with Oliveira following them in Dawson’s BMW, they started driving.
Son said that they were just driving around at first, without a destination. Poldervaart got out of the van and walked away without saying anything at one of the truck stops in Orland or Willows (Son wasn’t sure which town it was).
They would park the van away from the gas stations in order to keep the van off the video, and would walk up to the station to get a can of gas. They did this at several gas stations, buying a can of diesel at one of them.
At some point, Oliveira turned around and headed back to the house. Grundy and Walker noticed he was gone, so they called him.
Oliveira told Grundy and Walker he was going back to the house to get the backpacks and he would meet with them later and help with cleanup. Son said Oliveira told the guys that he (Son) told Oliveira to “peel” Dawson because Dawson took Oliveira’s gun and had pockets full of cash.
Son said he never discussed Dawson with Grundy of Walker. Son said he never even met Walker and never knew he existed.
Son never introduced Grundy and Dawson and never saw them together. Grundy would not know anything about his, Son’s, relationship with Dawson.
Grundy, Walker, and Dawson had been on the mountain in Colusa County since the early morning hours of March 8, 2019. Son did not know why they picked that particular spot.
By 10:30 or 11 a.m., everyone was distraught. Dawson was still conscious and threatening their lives, so they pulled him out of the van.
Walker was going to shoot Dawson, but his Tech 9 jammed. So, Grundy got his Glock 40 and shot Dawson.
They then poured diesel on him, lit him on fire, and drove away, leaving Dawson in the middle of the road. As Grundy and Walker drove away, they watched the smoke dissipate.
Later, Son was at the Tehama County Probation Day Reporting Center, working. His wife picked him up and told him he was needed at the clubhouse as soon as possible.
Son told Detective Lopeteguy and Investigator Cushman that he and his wife were supposed to have church that night, but when he got to the clubhouse, it was only Grundy and someone he had never met before, who turned out to be Walker.
Son said when he got to the clubhouse, he unlocked the door and walked in. Grundy and Walker followed him into the kitchen.
Son asked, “What’s up?”
Grundy answered, “That job in Orland is done.”
Son asked what job they were talking about.
Walker replied, “The kid with the AR-15.”
Son asked, “You mean Brandon? What do you mean, ‘job’?”
“He’s dead,” Grundy and Walker answered at the same time.
Son said he became very upset and asked, “What are you talking about?”
Grundy told him that Oliveira had said “this,” apparently meaning that Son had ordered the “job.”
Son told them, “I didn’t say any of that. It’s not true.” He then asked, “Are you fucking with me?”
They both answered, “No, I am not fucking with you. Dawson is dead.”
Son said he continued to get more and more upset. He said he considered shooting both of the men right there.
He grabbed a pistol off the counter and made the two men clarify what happened. Son said it took about 15 minutes for them to lay everything out.
Grundy and Walker told Son that Dawson’s body was up on the mountain above Stonyford, laying up there with handcuffs on.
Son then began thinking about what he needed to do with his members. Son had a full patch member (Grundy), his friend (Walker), and Oliveira.
Nobody had seen Oliveira since that morning and, Son said, “The hopes of all those drugs and that money Dawson died for, the guys that killed him got none of it. Oliveira drove away with it.”
Son thought he needed to protect his members and his club.
Son began worrying about the condition in which Dawson’s body had been left. He could not handle thinking Dawson was just up there in the middle of the road.
He did not want the animals or elements to get to Dawson, so Son asked Grundy if he could find the location again.
Grundy reportedly told Son he could, then asked him, “Why?”
Son answered, “[Because] you are going to go and bury my friend.”
Grundy asked, “Can’t I just move him?”
Son responded, “You can do whatever the fuck you want to do. I don’t care, but before the day is done, or whenever you’re done doing whatever with Dawson, he better be buried.” Son said Dawson did not deserve to die, and while he couldn’t give him a proper burial, he could at least make sure he was buried.
Son said Humphrey and Grundy went up to bury the body. Walker could not go because his hands were broken and had major swelling.
Grundy picked up Humphrey and they went to the mountains. Grundy and Humphrey cut off Dawson’s hands to get the handcuffs back and then they buried him.
Son said Humphrey is one of his favorite people and he did something nobody else could do. Humphrey drew a map and gave it to the Skidmores.
The map was to the location of Dawson’s body. Son said when he first found out about the map, he was upset because he was still trying to protect people.
After the murder, several people asked Son about Dawson, but he denied knowing him. However, when Jimbo Skidmore, Brandon Dawson’s grandfather, came up to his house, Son told him what happened.
He did not tell him who did what but he told him because he thought Jimbo deserved to know the truth.
Son said he did not know Dawson was hogtied until he talked to Humphrey in the jail. When he learned he was hogtied, Son became upset and that was when he realized Grundy and Walker were liars and he (Son) needed to talk to law enforcement.
As stated above, Michael Paul Oliveira, 45, was himself murdered on July 29, 2019, in Willows.
On July 28, 2021, Clayton Shane Humphrey, 39, was arrested in Red Bluff and booked into the Glenn County Jail. He was released from jail after posting bail.
On the same day, Stanley Scott Grundy, 45, was also arrested in Red Bluff and booked into the Glenn County Jail without bail.
On July 30, 2021, John Cornelis Poldervaart, 52, was arrested on Forest Road M2, Tehama County, and was booked into the Glenn County Jail. His bail was set at $600,000.
On August 24, 2021, Lane Cleo Walker Jr., 44, was arrested in Corning and booked into the Glenn County Jail without bail.
Lance Wayne Son Jr., 44, was sentenced to eight years, four months in the Tehama County Jail, although the Tehama County Jail website states that his scheduled release date is Jan. 29, 2022.
Brandon Dawson was killed at the age of 26.