A Goldendale, Washington Police Department SUV parked on the side of the road.

Richard Bauer

Suspected Budtender Kidnapper Arrested; Victim Still Missing

A man suspected of shooting at and kidnapping budtender Cameron Smith from his Cheney, Washington workplace was arrested yesterday in Goldendale, according to a KHQ report. Smith, as well as other two other suspects, are still missing.

Donavan Culps, 36, has been pursued since the Sunday kidnapping, which took place at the Lucid Cannabis store in Cheney, Washington.

The Cheney Police Department issued the following statement after the arrest in Goldendale:

On September 14, 2017 at approximately, 2:13 p.m. Donovan Culps was taken into custody by members of the multi-jurisdictional Yakima Violent Crime Task Force. He was taken into custody in Klickitat County, in the Goldendale, WA area following a short pursuit ending in a collision. There were no injuries and while Donovan Culps was taken into custody the other occupants of the vehicle fled on foot and have not been identified at this time. Detectives from the Cheney Police Department will be responding to Goldendale to conduct follow up in this case. There are no other details at this time.

Two other individuals are suspected of involvement with the crime, including Violetta Culps — Donavan’s 18-year-old niece — but the other suspects have not been located at this time.

Law enforcement throughout the region have been on the lookout for Culps after security footage from the Lucid Cannabis store in Cheney showed Culps approach Smith in the parking lot as he was sitting in his car while taking a break from work. Culps then brandished a gun, fired two shots into the vehicle, got in the car, and drove off with Smith still inside. Since then, both Smith’s emptied wallet and stolen car have been found, abandoned.

The investigation is ongoing.

A candlelight vigil was held Monday evening at Lucid for community members and Smith’s friends and loved ones to come together in hope for his safe return.


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