Three arraigned for three Shasta County homicides

Feb 18, 2014 6:46 PM

The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office has announced three individuals have been arrested and arraigned for two separate murder cases committed in Shasta County within a month of each other in 2013.

The three, identified as 33-year-old Joshua Reid McCormick of Anderson, 32-year-old Rebecca June Wilson of Shasta Lake City, and 32-year-old Byron Lee Willis of Redding, were arraigned in a Shasta County Superior Court today.

McCormick and Wilson have been charged in the deaths of 57-year-old Michael Cass Forsyth and 65-year-old Tomas James Burton. The two men were found shot to death and set on fire at the Ingot Auto Dismantlers on October 25, 2013. Investigators also believed the two men were also robbed prior to being murdered.

McCormick and Willis have been charged with the death of 31-year-old Eric Richard Ratledge whose body was found shot and burned in the back of a pickup truck on Bass Pond Drive in Millville on November 3, 2013.

The Shasta County Sheriff’s Department also named Ratledge as a suspect in the Ingot robbery and murders in their press release this afternoon.

As investigators began their initial investigations late last year, there was little evidence to suggest the deaths of Forsyth, Burton, and Ratledge were connected. That is until investigators connected items stolen from the location of the Ingot murders to Ratledge. With this evidence detectives eventually located a residence on Rancho Road in Redding Ratledge allegedly visited hours before his death. After following up with residents at the home, detectives identified McCormick and Willis as persons of interests in Ratledge’s death.

McCormick was arrested for outstanding warrants on November 26, 2013 and Willis was arrested on December 18, 2013 at his home on unrelated charges. The two remained in jail as detectives continued their investigation into the homicides, during which Wilson was identified as a possible witness to Ratledge’s death.

The three were interviewed regarding the homicides during the week of January 20, 2014. According to the sheriff’s office’s press release, Wilson allegedly stated her involvement in the robbery and murders of Forsyth and Burton in Ingot as well as her involvement in Ratledge’s murder. McCormick also provided a statement regarding his involvement in the three murders. Willis allegedly provided investigators information regarding Ratledge’s death, but denied any involvement in the murder.

Investigators determined Willis was not involved in the Ingot homicides.

All three pleaded not guilty in court today.


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