CHILD ADVOCATE AND AUTHOR MIKE ECHOLS
DIES IN THE MONTEREY COUNTY, CA JAIL.
WAS HE KILLED?
by Virginia McCullough
In 1991 author Mike Echols wrote I Know My First Name is Steven detailing the seven year kidnapping and continuous rape of young Steven Stayner. Most researchers consider this classic book one of the most compassionate and detailed ever written about the theft of a child by a sexual predator. On January 3, 2003 the abductor, Kenneth Parnell, was again arrested in Berkeley, California for trying to buy a young boy for $500.00. Now, as Parnell is residing in the Alameda County jail, Mike Echols was found dead in his Monterey County jail cell last Friday evening, January 10, 2003 around 11:40 p.m. Convicted pedophile Parnell is in jail for trying to buy a child and Echols was in jail serving 150 days for a parole violation involving a three year old case. Parnell lives and Echols is dead.
Echols was a diabetic and suffered from a heart condition. He was also complaining about a possible blood clot in his right leg. Echols was so ill that just before Christmas he was sent from the jail to the Natividad Medical Center for treatment. While at the medical facility, he was released on his own recognizance. Monterey County prosecutor Ed Hazel called the Echols release "bizarre and confusing" and Echols was arrested days later at a friend's home in Salinas. However jail officials initially refused to house him because of his health conditions.
Four weeks ago a confidential source in Monterey called this reporter and emphatically stated that Mike Echols was going to be killed in jail. This individual visited Echols in jail and has over 3 hours of taped conversations with the author. Echols gave his permission for the recordings telling the source that he was being held in jail on fake charges trumped up by the Monterey Salinas Transit (MST) authorities and Fort Ord Military Police. Echols stated, "Three fraudulent charges have been levied against me to discredit me and the organization I head -- Better a Millstone also known by the initials BAM." (Click.) This Internet site exposes pedophiles and seeks the truth about the deaths of children. Echols said that he takes a "hold no prisoners attitude in these matters." He continued saying that "we cost these people money, time, and exposure."
Echols was a truth seeker. In 1996, he learned of a cover-up by Monterey Salinas Transit bus authorities. A young boy, Bryan Fischer, was run over by a MST bus. It was later determined that the bus door sensors which prevent the bus from driving off for 8 seconds after the doors close, had been removed. According to Echols, MST was fined by state and federal authorities and lost a $4.5 million dollar lawsuit to the family. Mike then notified authorities of federal funding misappropriations for the Wave Bus service provided by MST. Echols estimated that his actions cost MST an additional $200,000 in fines and $350,000 in the loss of the Wave federal funding.
Just before his arrest in the early part of December 2003, Mike Echols had been helping mother Robin Lynn Innis try to reopen an investigation into her son's death. Monterey County had determined that the death of 14-year-old Trevor Innis Principe was a suicide but Echols and Innis believed that the boy had been murdered. In September and October Echols spoke out several times at the Monterey Board of Supervisors meeting pointing out his belief that the Sheriff's investigation and Coroner's report was fatally flawed and the investigation should be reopened. On May 1, 2002 Robin Innis formally filed a lawsuit (Case No. M59055) against the defendants County of Monterey, Monterey County of Social Services and Does One through Fifteen alleging that "as a direct and proximate result of the acts conduct and omissions of the defendants, and each of them Trevor Innis Principe died on April 18, 2001." Again Echols' research and determination resulted in costing the county of Monterey money, time and exposure.
Reopening the investigation into Trevor Innis Principe's death would refocus attention into the unsolved murder of Christina Williams. Mike Echols was told by Christina's father, Michael Williams, that it was his opinion that the investigation was so poorly handled that it was probably the single most contributing factor as to why Christina was not recovered safely. Mike put this interview on the internet. Shortly thereafter Echols was detained, injured and released by the Fort Ord police who eventually cited him for trespass. Christina was kidnapped while walking near her home next to Fort Ord.
Mike Echols said that while in jail he was approached by a fellow inmate, J.D. Horne, who had discovered Echols was an author of some renown. This young man wanted Echols to write his life story. He confided in Echols a great deal of confidential information that would be very valuable to the Deputy District Attorney Terry Spitz. Mike was in the process of negotiations with Spitz in the later part of December 2003.
On December 24, 2002 Mike's attorney, David W. Brown, wrote a letter to Echols in which this matter was addressed. This important paragraph sums up the problem Echols was facing.
"I (Attorney Brown) have a serious concern with what you are doing. Aside from the fact that you are essentially a fugitive from justice, it seems that it will be impossible for me to work out a disposition since you have ordered me not to negotiate on your behalf regarding exchanging your testimony in the murder case involving Mr. J.D. Horne, for dismissal of the current charges. I spoke with Deputy District Attorney Terry Spitz, regarding that possibility, and about your telephone conversation with him earlier on the 19th. He stated that he told you that he would not negotiate with you directly on the matter, and would negotiate only if your attorney, namely myself, were involved. Indeed it would violate State Bar rules for Mr. Spitz to do anything else in that regard. The court has appointed me as your attorney, and has refused to relieve me (even though you and I both requested it) as your attorney. Therefore, if (1) I cannot negotiate on your behalf because you forbid me to do that, and (2) you also cannot negotiate directly with Deputy District Attorney Spitz or Ann Hill, because they insist that I be involved, then (3) no negotiations will ever take place. The Horne matter will then eventually be concluded without your testimony, you will lose whatever leverage you now have, the charges against you will remain. You will then either remain a fugitive from justice or eventually face substantial jail time if and when you are apprehended. Either way, you and your organization will lose what little credibility is left."
Now Mike Echols' prediction about his fate in jail in Monterey County has come true. He is dead and perhaps the "Horne matter" involving a murder in Seaside, California will be concluded without testimony from Echols. Then again, there are 3 hours of recorded conversations with the dead man.
Certainly Monterey County should abandon its investigation into the death of Mike Echols and transfer jurisdiction to federal authorities because of the county's extensive conflicts of interest in this matter.
by Virginia McCullough © January 13, 2003