Felon who drowned while fleeing deputies identified

Aug 12, 2015 11:53 AM by News Staff

Tehama County authorities have released the name of a wanted felon who drowned in the Sacramento River while fleeing from sheriff’s deputies.

Assistant Tehama County Sheriff Phil Johnston says Billy Ray Daugherty, 38, was spotted by deputies under the bridge at Tehama around 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The deputy attempted to take Daugherty into custody, but Daugherty immediately ran into the river and started swimming towards the west bank.

Deputies kept eyes on Daugherty who began to struggle swimming. He went under water around 5:15 p.m. and never reemerged.

A boat and California Highway Patrol helicopter were dispatched to the scene and Daugherty’s body was located by the helicopter at 6:16 p.m.

Johnston tells Action News Now, a warrant was issued for Daugherty’s arrest on August 3, stemming from a parole violation.

Johnston said the sheriff’s department has an extensive history with Daugherty dating back to 1997, and in handful of the encounters Daugherty had resisted arrest and assaulted a police officer. Additionally Daugherty was a registered sex offender.

In June of 2012 Daugherty was arrested by sheriff’s deputies when they recognized him as a wanted parolee. In that incident Daugherty also ran into the Sacramento River in an effort to avoid capture, but was apprehended by a K-9.

An autopsy has been scheduled for later this week and at this time it is unknown if alcohol or drugs played a role in Daugherty’s decision to enter the river.


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