On the afternoon of Tuesday, May 18, 2021, the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety (GPDPS) was contacted by the United States Marshals Service (USMS) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) regarding two fugitives believed to be traveling from the state of Washington to Grants Pass, Oregon. The suspects, 36-year-old Guillermo B. Othon and 26-year-old Cierra B. Larsen, had felony warrants for their arrest out of Thurston County, Washington. In addition to the no-bail warrants, Othon and Larsen were wanted in connection with a home invasion robbery involving the use of firearms, which also occurred in Washington. Both suspects were considered armed and dangerous and were traveling with their 4-year-old daughter to a residence in the 1800-block of Rogue River Hwy.
Due to the nature of the crimes and the presence of a young juvenile, GPDPS responded with an abundance of caution. Prior to the arrival of the suspects in Grants Pass, the GPDPS Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team and Crisis Negotiations Team (CNT) were activated and staged in the area, along with Patrol Officers, Detectives, Administration, Community Service Officers and a K9 Unit. Agents with HSI Medford and Tacoma offices responded and were assisted by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air & Marine and Deputy US Marshals. Due to the proximity to the Rogue River, Marine Deputies with the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office responded to assist on the water. Additional aid was provided during this incident by Grants Pass Fire Rescue (GPFR), American Medical Response (AMR) and Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS).
Othon and Larsen arrived in Grants Pass around 6pm. When officers attempted contact, the two fugitives immediately barricaded with their child inside the residence and ignored all commands to come out. They hid from view, but officers could hear pounding noises coming from inside. The occupants of several neighboring residences were evacuated for their safety.
Numerous attempts were made to contact Othon and Larsen by phone and PA system with no response. Diversionary devices were deployed to gain compliance; Othon exited the residence and was detained at 7:30pm. He was later lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the warrant and new charges of Interfering with a Police Officer and Resisting Arrest.
Larsen remained barricaded inside the residence with her daughter. Over the next several hours, negotiators made countless attempts to contact Larsen by phone and PA system. Only one response was received, via text message at 8:34pm, in which Larsen indicated she was not at the residence. Despite repeated pleas for Larsen to give up and to release her daughter, there was no other reply nor sound heard from the residence.
After a search warrant was obtained, and all other options exhausted, members from the GPDPS SWAT Team began a slow and cautious search of the residence. Larsen and her daughter were eventually located hidden beneath a layer of insulation in the attic. The child was rescued from the attic at 1:55am and immediately evaluated by medical personnel before being taken into protective custody. Larsen was detained a few minutes later; she was later lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the warrant, pending local charges.
A small section of Rogue River Hwy was closed for several hours during this incident. During that time, two separate vehicles drove past police barricades, one at 9:26pm and one at 12:53am. These incidents posed a safety risk to the agencies on scene and required additional officers respond to investigate. Both drivers were found to be impaired and arrested for DUII.
Throughout this event, the number one priority for every agency involved was the health and safety of the four-year-old child. City, County, State and Federal agencies all worked together to coordinate a peaceful resolution. The professionalism of each individual involved resulted in the successful rescue of the child, who was found to be uninjured and in good spirits. We would also like to thank the public for their patience, particularly the neighbors who were disturbed by the events and evacuations.