Camano Island man accused of abusing kids threatens to shoot deputies
By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News Times Assistant editor
September 4, 2012 · Updated 3:45 PM
The children of a Camano Island man told police they have endured a lifetime of beatings, sexual abuse, fear and poverty.
They described a home life in which their parents were constantly using drugs and their father sometimes became psychotic, wielding a machete, a cane or even a gun in pursuit of demons or aliens, according to court records.
Deputies arrested the children’s father, 53-year-old Miguel Morales II, during an Aug. 29 traffic stop that nearly resulted in a shooting.
“He was reaching into his waistband and shouting at the deputies that he had a gun,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Eric Ohme said at a court hearing last week. “It’s amazing that he’s even here.”
Prosecutors charged Morales in Island County Superior Court Aug. 2 with second-degree incest, third-degree child molestation, third-degree assault of a child and harassment. All the counts were charged as domestic-violence crimes with aggravating circumstances.
Judge Alan Hancock issued a $500,000 arrest warrant on Morales on Aug. 2. But then deputies with the Island County Sheriff’s Office had the difficult job of trying to arrest a dangerous and possibly armed man in a home filled with children and adults.
Morales is well known by deputies on Camano Island and has been accused of stalking a deputy and even his own adult daughter after she tried to leave home. He conditioned his children to be fearful of police, but three of them finally spoke to police after Morales allegedly beat his 10-year-old son and made him strip naked before sending him outside, according to court documents.
Detective Mark Plumberg investigated the incident and uncovered many other troubling allegations, including sexual abuse, while interviewing the boy and two of Morales’ daughters. One of the young women described an incident in which Morales made the children watch as he beat their mother, who was naked and handcuffed, and forced her to eat feces.
Before the sheriff’s SWAT team could execute a plan to go in and apprehend Morales, a couple of deputies got lucky at a traffic stop on NE Camano Drive Aug. 29. A woman, possibly intoxicated, was driving and two of Morales’ adult sons were inside. A deputy noticed a jacket draped over something in the back seat and ordered the hidden person to come out.
Morales suddenly popped up from underneath the jacket and yelled that he had a gun and was going to kill the deputies. The deputies moved backward and told Morales to give himself up, but he grabbed for his waistband, repeated that he had a gun and again threatened to kill the deputies, according to a deputy’s report on the incident.
The deputies ordered the occupants of the car to calm Morales down, but it didn’t work. Morales and one of his sons exited the vehicle; Morales was out of control. His son tried to restrain him, but Morales threatened to shoot him, broke free and started running, court documents alleged.
The deputies chased Morales and shocked him with a Taser as he tried to climb a fence. After he was arrested, Morales threatened to kill the deputies and their families.
The driver of the car said she saw Morales place a handgun in his waistband prior to driving onto Camano Island, but the deputies were unable to find a weapon. They believe he threw it out before the traffic stop, according to the deputy’s report.
Morales repeatedly smashed his head all over the inside of the deputy’s car on the way to jail, spattering blood all over, according to the deputy’s report. The car had to be removed from service while a decontamination company cleaned it.
At a court hearing last week, Morales appeared with a bandage on his forehead and looked like he was wincing in pain. The judge found there was probable cause to hold Morales on two counts of harassment — threats to kill, malicious mischief and escape in the third degree.
The judge set bail for Morales at $500,000 on the first case and $250,000 on the newer allegations.
Contact Whidbey News Times Assistant editor Jessie Stensland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360.675.6611 ext. 5056.