COVELO, 9/10/21 — A 23-year-old Covelo man was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of murdering his cousin early in the morning on Saturday, Sept. 4. Christopher Bettega was taken into custody after a search warrant was served at a residence in the vicinity of Mendocino Pass Road and Biggar Lane, four days after Mendocino County Sheriff’s deputies responded to reports that Christopher Bettega and victim William Bettega, 25, had been the victims of an attack and possible kidnapping around 1:30 a.m. At that time, William Bettega’s location was reportedly unknown.
While en route, deputies were notified that firefighters had located a body at Henderson and Crawford roads. The victim was later identified as William Bettega, and investigators allegedly found evidence he was struck by a vehicle that was located near the scene. Investigators found the vehicle alleged to have been used in the crime abandoned nearby in the Short Creek drainage east of Biggar Lane. They allege that evidence of a crash involving a pedestrian was found on the vehicle’s exterior. Deputies have clarified, however, there’s no evidence the victim was kidnapped.
Deputies also said there’s no evidence of any additional suspects. MCSO booking logs indicate that Marijane Sawsha Bettega, 24, was arrested early Thursday morning on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a felony and harboring, concealing or aiding a suspect wanted in connection with a felony. Both charges are felonies themselves. She was released around 4 p.m. She is not listed as a co-defendant in the criminal complaint against Christopher Bettega.
Christopher Bettega remains in custody. His arrest record indicates he’s also suspected of violating the terms of his probation, likely in connection with a felony vandalism charge filed May 5, 2020, in which prosecutors say he damaged a California Highway Patrol cruiser windshield. Meanwhile, investigators are asking anyone who might have security cameras recording in downtown Covelo to check for footage of a lifted white Chevrolet Silverado between midnight and 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 4.
The press release from MCSO has been included below:
|MEDIA ADVISORY/NEWS RELEASE|
DATE: “September 9, 2021”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
187 PC (Murder)
1203.2 PC (Violation of Probation)
Intersection of Crawford Road and Henderson Road in Covelo, CA
Date of Incident:
William Daniel Bettega (25 year-old male from Covelo, CA)
Christopher Bettega (23 year-old male from Covelo, CA)
Detective Sergeant Luis M Espinoza #1228
On 09-04-2021 at about 1:30 AM, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center began receiving calls for service concerning a reported assault and possible kidnapping in an unknown area of Covelo, California.
The reports initially identified cousins Christopher Bettega and William Bettega as being the reported victims. At the time of the call, the location of William Bettega was unknown.
Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies began to respond to Covelo and while responding, a separate call for service regarding a located deceased person was dispatched.
The Covelo Fire Department had been dispatched to an injured male on the roadway near the intersection of Crawford Road and Henderson Road. Upon their arrival, it was determined death was obvious and the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office was requested to respond.
When Deputies arrived at the deceased male’s location, it was believed based on evidence located at the scene that the person, later identified as William Bettega was struck by a motor vehicle.
Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Detectives were dispatched and assumed control over the investigation.
Based on the suspected nature of the death, Sheriff’s Detectives requested and were assisted by an Investigator from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Northern Division Investigation Services Unit.
CHP Officers assisted in documentation of the death scene.
A Patrol Deputy assisting Sheriff’s Detectives located a vehicle in the Short Creek drainage just east of Biggar Lane in Covelo.
Evidence consistent with a recent collision involving a pedestrian was located on the exterior of the vehicle. The vehicle was identified as being primarily utilized by Christopher Bettega.
Several people were contacted and interviewed over the next four days during the course of this investigation.
On 09-08-2021 Sheriff’s Detectives and Patrol Deputies served a search warrant at a residence near the intersection of Biggar Lane and Mendocino Pass Road in Covelo. At the conclusion of the search warrant (based on the information learned during the investigation) Christopher Bettega was arrested for 187 PC (Murder).
Christopher Bettega was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $1,000,000.00 bail.
While this investigation is ongoing, there is no information suggesting the existence of any additional suspect(s). At this time, there is no evidence to support the initially reported kidnapping incident.
This investigation is still active and Sheriff’s Detectives are asking anyone with information related to Christopher Bettega and William Bettega’s activities on the night of 09-03-2021 and during the early morning hours of 09-04-2021 to contact the Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff’s Detectives ask any person(s) or business with surveillance video which depicts a lifted White Chevy Silverado traveling on downtown Covelo roads between the hours of 12:00 AM (midnight) and 1:30 AM on 09-04-2021 to contact Sheriff’s Detectives.
An anonymous message can be left on the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100.
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the California Department of Justice Eureka and Santa Rosa Bureau of Forensic Services Criminalists; CHP Garberville and CHP Ukiah Offices; CHP Northern Division ISU and Multi Disciplinary Investigation Team (MAIT) and the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office Investigators for their continued assistance during this investigation.
Captain Gregory L. Van Patten #1184