A 34-year-old man is behind bars on $25,000 bail for allegedly sending sexually explicit text messages to a young teen girl and trying to get her to join a satanic cult.
Misael Urieta Hernandez of Pasco pleaded innocent in Benton County Superior Court to one count of communication with a minor for immoral purposes.
His trial is scheduled for Aug. 27.
According to court documents, the Kennewick girl's mother said she had seen her daughter sending messages to someone earlier this month and asked to see her phone.
That is when the mother found sexually explicit texts from Urieta Hernandez to the girl, documents said. The messages allegedly asked the girl about her sexual activities and preferences, while also encouraging her to join the cult.
The mother knew Urieta Hernandez, the owner and operator of an ice cream truck, and drove to his home to confront him.
The woman told Kennewick officers that Urieta Hernandez admitted sending the texts and said "he could not recruit his own children into the occult because they were Catholic," court documents said.
But when police went to talk to Urieta Hernandez, he only acknowledged having control of the phone at the time the messages were sent but refused to answer any further questions, documents said.
In addition to bail, Urieta Hernandez is locked up on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold. He has been ordered to have no contact with the teen while the case is pending.
Man pleads innocent to burglary charges
A Kennewick man is accused of vandalizing vehicles parked at a Vista Way shopping center and breaking into Highland Health Foods to damage several pallets of food.
Geoffery Wayne Miller, 27, pleaded innocent to second-degree burglary and first-degree malicious mischief for the July 8 incident.
Trial is scheduled to start Aug. 27.
Kennewick police responded to the shopping center after getting reports of a person inside a truck throwing out items.
Officers found Miller in a Quality Rentals truck, court documents said. The truck had a broken window and paper had been thrown out.
A number of other vehicles in the parking lot also had broken windows and their contents strewn all over the ground.
The nearby health foods store had visible damage to a door and inside, where police found that a forklift had been used to damage the pallets of food, documents said. The damage was estimated at $8,000.
In his interview with officers, Miller allegedly admitted to entering Highland Health Foods and causing the damage to the store and vehicles in the lot, "but was unable to state why he did it."
Miller is in jail on $10,000 bail.
-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; email@example.com