WAPATO, WA — While finding a headless goat outside the mayor’s home isn’t the worst thing he’s seen, Wapato Police Chief Dominic Rizzi says it is one of the stranger things to happen in the small Yakima County town since he took over as chief in February.
A former homicide detective in Chicago, Rizzi is investigating the decapitated kid with an open mind, he said, noting he’ll look into every possibility to explain how the body of a small, frozen, headless goat found its way outside the home of Wapato Mayor Dora Alvarez-Roa this past week.
Because there was no blood in the area where the goat was found, Rizzi believes it was either placed there intentionally or dropped on accident. Either way, the goat wasn’t killed where it was found, he said.
“The mayor thinks (the goat) is retaliatory and politically motivated,” Rizzi said. “But there were no other associated threats found with the body.”
Since taking over as mayor, Alvarez-Roa has reportedly dealt with political in-fighting amongst City Hall’s leaders.
After a recent change in the city’s administration, Wapato has been going through some “political turmoil,” Rizzi said, noting the mayor, city administrator, and a portion of the city council are falling on one side of the political fence over current issues while the rest of the council falls on the other.
When the administrative transition occurred following the last election, the newly elected team reportedly accepted some “flawed legal advice” that had some negative ramifications, Rizzi explained in part.
Reports from the Yakima Herald show the political turmoil may even go as far back as last September, when The Coalition of Wapato Residents for Ethical Government issued a statement against the recent political actions involving the mayor and — more specifically — City Administrator Juan Orozco.
Claiming Orozco used his authority to break the law and intimidate residents, the Coalition solicited the community of just more than 5,000 to join together and take a stand against the administration’s alleged abuses of power.
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“The Coalition is reaching out to support any Wapato resident who has felt intimidated, or fears for their safety or the safety of their family or property in Wapato,” the Coalition’s statement read in part. “In America there is the rule of law. In America we stand together to uphold the rule of law, and will organize to promote and ensure the orderly exercise of the rule of law … There are consequences for ignoring or breaking the laws of the land.”
But Rizzi isn’t identifying any possible suspects act this time, though Alvarez-Roa has reportedly offered her own hypotheses.
Rather viewing the dead goat as the kind of offer Alvarez-Roa can’t refuse or some other weird “Godfather” reference, a primary consideration at this time appears to be the possibility the goat is part of a hex that’s being placed on the mayor and her team, Rizzi said.
With a 79 percent Latino population, Wapato is a predominantly Hispanic community, which is reflected by their mayor. So Rizzi thinks it’s less likely this is a racially motivated threat — if it’s a threat at all.
“We can’t discount the possibility that it fell out of a passing truck,” Rizzi said. “We plan to investigate every possible explanation.”
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