Melinda Elaine Carter
Melinda Elaine Carter (HCSO)

Press release the Humboldt County Sheriff Office:

On Friday, at about 10:30 p.m., Humboldt County Sheriff Office detectives arrested Melinda Elaine Carter age 41 for conspiracy and accessory to a homicide, auto theft and arson after developing information that a homicide had occurred in the Garberville area.

Melinda Carter was transported to the Humboldt County jail in Eureka where her bail was set at $750,000. Detectives located Melinda Carter in a motel room at the Brass Rail Motel in Redway, where they had served a search warrant related to the homicide investigation. Melinda Carter is the wife of the suspect, Benjamin Jasper Carter age 33, who has not been arrested yet in connection with the homicide.

Benjamin Jasper Carter
Benjamin Jasper Carter (HCSO)

On Saturday, at about 12:30 p.m., a citizen dialed 911 after locating a deceased male body just off Kimtu Road, Garberville. The body was in the water near the river bank. Sheriff's Office Detectives, who were in the area immediately responded to the scene. Sheriff's Offices Detectives assisted by the California Department of Justice processed the crime scene. The Humboldt County Coroner Office responded to the scene to take possession of the body.

The male victim was identified by the Coroner's Office as Zackery Jacob Chapman age 36 from Redway. Chapman appears to have died from the result of a gunshot wound. An Autopsy is scheduled for later this week.


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On Saturday, the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office along with Humboldt County Arson Task Force and the California Department of Justice processed the homicide scene, which was located on a piece of property off Conic Creek, Garberville. A trailer on the property had been burned down after the homicide in an attempt to conceal evidence where the homicide occurred.

The Sheriff's Office is advising the public if they see the suspect Benjamin Jasper Carter to immediately contact law enforcement and do not approach Carter, who is considered armed and dangerous. They are being advised to dial 911.

If anyone has information on this homicide they are encouraged to call Investigator Cheryl Franco at 707-268-3644 or the Sheriff's Office at 707-445-7251.