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Pot shop kidnapping suspect captured in Goldendale

Sept. 14, 2017 Updated Thu., Sept. 14, 2017 at 6:50 p.m.

Donovan Culps (Cheney Police Department)
Donovan Culps (Cheney Police Department)

One of two people suspected of kidnapping an employee Sunday from the parking lot of a marijuana store in Cheney has been captured.

Officers with the Yakima Violent Crime Task Force arrested Donovan Culps, 36, in the area of Goldendale, Washington, on Thursday afternoon. “He led the task force on a pursuit and he crashed his car,” said Cheney Police Capt. Richard Beghtol.

There were other people in the car who fled after the crash, but they have not been caugt, Beghtol said. Police are still looking for Culps’ niece and suspected accomplice, 18-year-old Violetta Culps.

“We haven’t got her yet, but I think she was around him,” Beghtol said.

Donovan Culps has been charged with first-degree kidnapping and first-degree robbery.

Both Donovan and Violetta tried to buy marijuana from Lucid Marijuana on First Street on Sunday but were turned away because they didn’t have identification. Employee Cameron Smith, 46, was sitting in his SUV eating lunch in the parking lot when the Culps kidnapped him at gunpoint and took his car, according to police.

The SUV was recovered Tuesday in an empty field at 12th Avenue and Craig Road on the edge of Airway Heights. Smith’s wallet was found on Monday on the Spokane Indian Reservation by a road construction crew.

Search crews continue to scour the reservation for any sign of Smith, Beghtol said. “Our best information takes us to the Spokane Reservation, so that’s where we’re concentrating our effort,” he said.

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