Everything that could go wrong did go wrong for a trio of alleged drug thieves north of Kelso early this week.
The incident left one of them in a Vancouver hospital with severe injures, and he remained unconscious on Thursday two days after the incident.
Cowlitz County Chief Criminal Deputy Charlie Rosenzweig said 18-year-old Amy Varnson of Castle Rock, her 47-year-old boyfriend Keith Zigler of Castle Rock, and 32-year-old Juanita Martz-Vickers of Ontario, Ore., offered to buy an ounce of meth and a quarter-ounce of heroin from 18-year-old Zaccary Bopp of Kelso.
They allegedly planned to meet at the Ostrander Store early Tuesday morning for the sale, but Varnson, Martz-Vickers, and Zigler didn’t intend on paying.
“They agree to buy meth and heroin for $600,” Rosenzweig said. “But the plan isn’t to do just that. The plan is, once Amy and this other gal, Juanita Vickers, get the drugs from Bopp, Zigler’s gonna come out with a baseball bat and beat up, rip off the drug dealer (Bopp).”
Varnson, Martz-Vickers, and Zigler arrived at the store as scheduled, and Zigler hid in the nearby bushes. Bopp arrived soon after, driven there by 39-year-old Michael Holter Jr. in a red Dodge Durango.
Bopp brought the heroin and meth into Varnson and Martz-Vickers’ car, Rosenzweig said. While they were weighing the drugs and going over the deal, Zigler jumped out of the bushes with a baseball bat and began chasing Bopp. (As this was taking place, Varnson sent Zigler a text message containing an emoji blowing a kiss.)
When he saw Zigler attack Bopp, Holter rushed to recover the drugs from Varnson and Martz-Vicker. He only managed to grab the meth. Meanwhile, Zigler continued swinging the bat at Bopp and the Durango.
“In order to escape, basically, Bopp jumps into the Durango, in the back seat, to keep from getting beaten to death with this baseball bat,” Rosenzweig said. “When Holter comes back with the drugs, he gets in and speeds away, literally running over (Zigler).”
Zigler is now in serious or critical condition with many major injuries at Southwest Washington Medical Center, Rosenzweig said.
“(Zigler) was unconscious when we got there, and he’s been basically unconscious ever since,” Rosenzweig said Thursday. “We haven’t had a chance to talk to him.”
Holter and Bopp fled the scene, and Varnson called police soon after to report the hit-and-run and to get aid for Zigler, Rosenzweig said.
The sheriff’s office is checking the Durango for evidence.
Varnson and Martz-Vickers were arrested later that morning on suspicion of first-degree robbery, and Bopp was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of a narcotics offense. Rosenzweig said the sheriff’s office has not been able to locate Holter, the accused getaway driver. The extent of Bopp’s injuries from the alleged baseball bat assault was not clear.
Varnson and Bopp are lodged in the Cowlitz County Jail in lieu of $35,000 and $1,500 bail, respectively. Little information was available about Martz-Vickers, who was released on personal recognizance shortly after her arrest on Tuesday.
Update: This story has been updated to clarify that the police suspect named Michael Holter is 39-year-old Michael Holter Jr., not his father, Michael Holter Sr., 60.