Wednesday July 3, 2024

Oregon Public Broadcasting

An Oregon man convicted of killing 18,000 pre-smolt salmon with bleach is now out of jail.

On April 21, the Gardiner Reedsport Winchester Bay Salmon Trout Enhancement Program (STEP) hatchery was broken into. The next morning, a hatchery worker found thousands of dead fish settled on the bottom of a holding tank.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said a deputy found 20-year-old Joshua A. Heckathorn of Gardiner wandering along Highway 101, and then again later inside a gate at the hatchery site. Police said Heckathorn admitted to trespassing on the property, entering a storage location, and handling a bottle that contained bleach.

After Heckathorn was arrested, he missed his initial court appearance and then a second one, prompting the judge to issue a bench warrant.

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