COVELO, MENDOCINO COUNTY – A couple visiting the Eel River were carjacked by another couple as they were leaving. That couple was captured within 2 hours.
Mike Gunter and Richean Watchman, who, according to their Facebook pages, have been a couple since they met in 2011, were at the Eel River off Highway 162 in the hills south west of the town of Covelo. They are both from Willits, several miles further south. According to a report filed by the Mendocino Sheriff’s Department, at about 7 pm they were leaving in a red lifted Chevrolet truck and another car, when a large brown Ford truck pulled in front of them, blocking the way.
While the driver of the Ford stayed inside, a man and a woman, later identified as Christopher Bayard II and Lori Schwarm, got out of the Ford and approached the Chevy. Bayard pointed a handgun at the couple, and ordered the driver out of the truck. Bayard and Schwarm then got into the Chevy and drove it off eastbound, towards Covelo. The driver of the Ford truck took off as well.
A highway patrol officer responded to the scene, and at 7:28 alerted the Sheriff’s Department of the stolen vehicle last seen heading towards Covelo. It didn’t take long for deputies in Covelo to locate the distinctive red pickup, and they spotted it along Highway 162. The truck turned down Howard Street, and they pulled it over in the area of Round Valley High School. Bayard and Schwarm were taken into custody at about 9 pm.
The couple showed signs of being under the influence of a controlled substance while being arrested, and a search of the stolen vehicle revealed a used Meth pipe. Lori Schwarm was arrested under charges of carjacking and being under the influence of a controlled substance. Christopher Bayard was charged with the same, as well as possession of drug paraphernalia and ammunition by a prohibited person. (He is a previously convicted felon.) They were booked into the Mendocino County Jail, with bail set at $75,000 each. The driver of the Ford Pickup was not located, and is still wanted as an accessory.