UPDATE 12/21/18 — According to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office’s online booking log Bautista-Dalson was booked into county jail at 6:30 p.m. today, Friday Dec. 21. No additional information is available yet.
MENDOCINO Co., 12/20/18 — A felony bench warrant was issued for Antonia Bautista-Dalson this week after the Covelo woman failed to appear for her December 17 court appearance, and authorities state that an active search for her is underway. Bautista-Dalson was scheduled for sentencing this Monday, as an accomplice in the crime of possession of a firearm by a felon, committed by Negie Fallis of Covelo.
Both Fallis and Bautista-Dalson had agreed to plead guilty, Fallis for felony firearms possession, and Bautista-Dalson as an accomplice — charges stemming from Fallis’ arrest in Covelo in February. Fallis’ February arrest was related to a violent incident against Khadijah Britton, a Covelo woman who has been missing since February 7. He was sentenced to four years in prison on December 4 under a plea agreement and taken into custody. Bautista-Dalson, who was released on bail after her August arrest, pled guilty to the crime on October 9 but failed to appear, and is now wanted by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. Family and community members continue to actively search for Britton, and banners, flyers, and bumper stickers can be seen throughout Northern California imploring anyone with information about her case to speak up.
Baustita-Dalson has admitted to being an accomplice to Fallis and helping him hide several firearms during his arrest by Round Valley Tribal Police at a residence in Covelo on February 19. She was believed to be his girlfriend at the time. Fallis was arrested that day on a warrant stemming from a January incident in which he is alleged to have violently beaten Britton, his former girlfriend, with a hammer and threatened to kill her. Fallis has a previous felony conviction for child endangerment, and as a felon, is not allowed to possess a firearm. Bautista-Dalson was arrested on tk after investigators determined from jail records and that she had assisted Fallis in hiding the firearm. She was arrested in August but was released on bail, had agreed to a plea deal for either a year of probation or up to three years in local prison, that required her to appear in court on December 17 for sentencing.
There is a now a felony “no-bail” warrant and an active search underway for Bautista-Dalson, as she has already plead guilty to the crime of being an accomplice, but she could now face an additional felony count of evading a warrant. Lt. Shannon Barney, of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), said that what deputies are, “trying to do is locate and arrest her on the active warrant. When we find her and book her, that will notify the court and the D.A. that she’s back.”
During her sentencing hearing on Dec. 17, law enforcement officers provided additional testimony on the evidence, despite her absence, which will be considered by the judge during sentencing, Barney noted. Once Bautista-Dason is back in custody, the judge will determine how to proceed regarding both the accomplice sentence and the additional failure to appear charges, according to Mike Geniella, spokesman for the Mendocino County District Attorney’s office, adding, “failure to appear is serious.”
Barney said that MCSO is working in coordination with the Round Valley Tribal Police, and that deputies and law enforcement working in northern Mendocino are aware of the warrant. Anyone with information about Bautista-Dalson’s location may contact MCSO dispatch at 707-463-4086, which is the quickest way to ensure that information reaches the law enforcement involved in the search, particularly if she is spotted in a particular location but may be on the run, said Barney.
Both Fallis and Bautista-Dalson initially both pled not guilty in the firearms case, but both later agreed to plea deals after the DA’s office moved to try them together. Fallis was taken into custody on December 4 after his sentencing hearing; he was sentenced to four years but may not actually serve the entire length of time. Fallis remains the prime suspect in Britton’s disappearance, and the investigation to locate her is ongoing. The charges against Fallis for allegedly beating Britton, which led to his arrest, were later dropped in part because Britton was not present to testify — due to having disappeared.
Sheriff Tom Allman, deputies, a special agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the chief of Round Valley Tribal Police, and Britton’s family members held a press conference the day after Fallis’ sentencing to encourage anyone with information about her disappearance to contact law enforcement. A reward of $85,000 is being offered for any information leading directly to locating Britton, with an additional $25,000 offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.
Anyone with information is asked to call the MCSO tip line (see below), or to call a new contracted service, WeTip, which provides complete anonymity for anyone calling in with information who may not want to call the Sheriff’s Office directly. The entire video of that press conference can viewed in this article.
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office continues to seek any information related to Britton’s disappearance, and a significant reward is being offered for any information that helps find her. Anyone with information about Britton should contact the MCSO tip line at (707) 463- 4086 or the tip line (707) 234-2100, or the anonymous WeTip service at 1-800-78-CRIME. You can read The Mendocino Voice’s complete coverage of Britton’s disappearance and Fallis’ legal proceedings here.