April 9, 2008

Sonora man missing; 2 arrested

SONORA -- Authorities in Tuol-umne County on Tuesday were searching for a Sonora man who vanished after a fight three days ago, while two brothers from Jamestown were arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and conspiracy in connection with the man's disappearance.

A friend of Carl Stephen Knight, 23, reported him missing Sunday, said Lt. Dan Bressler, a Tuol-umne County sheriff's spokesman. Sheriff's officials described Knight as weighing about 220 pounds and standing about 6 feet 1 inch tall with brown hair and brown eyes.

"We are holding out hope he is still alive," Bressler said. "We do not know for sure, one way or the other."

He said the friend believed Knight had been in a fight early Sunday and became concerned when he couldn't be found.

Detectives believe Knight was injured in that fight with Robert Earl Slawinsky, 28, and Paul Curtis Sla-winsky, 26, Bressler said. The detectives said they suspect that the men took Knight someplace after the fight.

The Slawinsky brothers were arrested Monday evening and were booked at the Tuolumne County Jail. Bail was set at $1 million each.

Bressler said authorities searched a vehicle and a home where they believe the fight occurred. Sheriff's officials would not say whose home or vehicle they searched.

Meanwhile, search and rescue crews from Tuolumne County, Sonora and the California Highway Patrol were combing the Don Pedro Reservoir area and the Jacksonville Road area.

Investigators believe Knight may have been taken somewhere near Don Pedro, Bressler said. Authorities were using sheriff's boat patrol resources at the lake to help with the search.

"We have been working around the clock on this case and will continue to do so until we get a better idea of what led to Carl's disappearance," Bressler said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, authorities had not found Knight. Bressler could not be reached Tuesday night for an update.

Bressler said Knight's family and friends were in the area conducting their own search. Jacksonville Road includes steep terrain, and authorities asked those not trained to search in these types of areas to stay away.

Sheriff's officials did not release jail photos of the Slawinsky brothers. Bressler said: "The case is still too fresh, and we can't take the chance of tainting any possible witness identifications by having their photos shown in the paper or on TV. It would negate any identification of them by witnesses from that point forward."

Sheriff's investigators ask anyone with information about the case to call the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Department at 533-5815.

Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada contributed to this report.

Bee staff writer Inga Miller can be reached at imiller@modbee.com or 578-2324.

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