Ex-Willows man arrested for Red Bluff murder
Mar 06, 2013 (Orland Press Register - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The man arrested in connection with the death of a 14-year-old girl in Red Bluff is a former Willows resident.
Quentin Ray Bealer, 39, is being held without bail on suspicion on murder in Tehama County Jail.
Bealer, a native of Red Bluff, lived in Willows for several years while his wife worked as a nurse at Glenn Medical Center.
He is scheduled for arraignment in Tehama County Superior Court at 1 p.m. today before Judge Matthew C. McGlynn.
Red Bluff police announced Monday that Nichols died of "asphyxiation by ligature strangulation," but they are not saying if she was sexually assaulted.
The full autopsy will be released in a few weeks, police said.
Bealer was arrested on the murder charge Saturday after being interviewed by the Red Bluff Police Department that day.
Nichols' body was found by law enforcement at 11 a.m. Thursday in Brickyard Creek, which runs behind Red Bluff High School. She had been reported missing at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 26 by her mother, Diane Whitmire.
A surveillance video of Nichols walking in the direction of the creek, her typical path home from Red Bluff High School's Education Outreach Academy, also showed a white male in that vicinity around the same time.
The police released the video to the media Friday night and asked for help in identifying the man.
Red Bluff police Chief Paul Nanfito said that the department received "dozens and dozens of tips" from the video.
"(Bealer) was positively ID'd as the person on the surveillance tape," the chief sad.
He was originally arrested at 10:29 p.m. Friday by the Tehama County Sheriff's Department on the 8000 block of Central Avenue in Gerber. He had failed to appear in court on charges of burglary, receiving known stolen property and possession of drug paraphernalia in a case dating back to December.
That same night, a candlelight vigil was held for Nichols in front of the Tehama County Courthouse.
"I came to honor her. She was my friend," a girlfriend said at the vigil.
The police are still seeking the public's assistance in finding two items possibly related to the crime: a pair of red shorts, described as "Dickies" style, and an iPod in a pink removable case which was in Nichols' possession at the time of her disappearance around 11 a.m. on Feb. 26.
The iPod is between 1 and 4 years old, holds eight to 16 gigabites and is linked to an iCloud account, said the Police Department.
Police are also seeking access to video surveillance from residences and businesses taken in the areas north of Luther Road, east of Baker Road, south of Walbridge Road and west of Main and South Main streets, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Feb. 26.
Bealer has an extensive criminal history in Tehama County that stretches nearly two decades, according to court records.
In 1991, he pled guilty to charges of stolen property, burglary, transportation of drugs, corporal injury to a spouse, and battery.
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