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Mom arrested in teen party

GRAYSON — A woman suspected of buying booze for a group of teenagers and then forcing them to drive home last weekend now faces charges that she had sex with at least one minor.

Authorities arrested Anna J. Walker-Vogt, 35, in her home Friday evening in front of her husband, sister and three children. She was expected to be booked at the Stanislaus County Jail on two counts of unlawful sex with a minor and 12 counts of child endangerment, all felonies.

Walker-Vogt is suspected of buying alcohol for a group of Patterson teenagers after a high school basketball game Jan. 19.

Witnesses said she brought the teens to her Grayson home to celebrate the homecoming of her 16-year-old son, who had been in Oklahoma. After the teens partied and drank alcohol, she forced them to leave before 3 a.m. Jan. 20 because her husband — an Atwater police officer — was coming home from work, witnesses said.

Walker-Vogt is suspected of paying one teen $50 to drive the teens home. He loaded 12 teens into his sports utility vehicle and, four miles later, crashed on a dark country road, injuring everyone.

At 4:50 p.m. Friday, a convoy of five Stanislaus County sheriff's cars, five California Highway Patrol cruisers and five unmarked police vehicles drove to Walker-Vogt's home in the 1800 block of Minnie Street.

Wearing bulletproof vests, and some with guns drawn, the officers fanned out around the front of the home. One deputy repeatedly pounded on the front door.

For 10 minutes, no one answered.

A plainclothes sheriff's investigator removed an iron battering ram from his car as deputies prepared to break down the front door.

While a sheriff's deputy prepared to make an announcement to Walker-Vogt over a public address system, her husband, David Walker, came out through a side gate. He spoke briefly with investigators, then led them down a side path into his back yard.

Officials opened the front door four minutes later. More than a dozen sheriff's and CHP investigators went inside.

Sheriff's deputy Royjindar Singh said the family did not open the door immediately because "they said they were in the back yard and couldn't hear us knocking."

At 5:28 p.m., Walker-Vogt's husband, three children and sister walked out of the home, got into a pickup parked in the driveway and drove off. Singh said investigators interviewed the family members and allowed them to leave.

For the next hour, investigators searched the home room by room. They removed two computers and three cell phones, plus other potential evidence.

Shortly before 7 p.m., the front door swung open and Walker-Vogt walked outside wearing a large black coat. Her hands were cuffed in front of her.

Walker-Vogt cooperated with investigators, Singh said. "She was calm; she was fine," he said. "She did not resist."

In addition to the 14 felony counts, Walker-Vogt faces six misdemeanor charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, Singh said.

CHP and state Alcoholic Beverage Control officials investigated the crash, CHP officer Tom Killian said.

Walker-Vogt was charged with felony child endangerment because investigators believe she bought them alcohol and then forced them to leave, Killian said.

Walker-Vogt bought the alcohol at the 1-Stop market and liquor store at Grayson and Laird roads, Killian said. The store's video surveillance footage shows Walker-Vogt entering the store alone, without any of the teens from the party, he said.

The store clerk did nothing wrong, Killian said. Officials did not release what kind of alcohol she bought or how much. A witness told The Bee she returned with a case of beer.

Officials would not comment on when or where the alleged sex with a minor occurred. They would not say whether Walker-Vogt is suspected of having sex with one minor twice or with two minors.

Reached five hours before the search warrant was served, Sheriff Adam Christianson confirmed that his department was "conducting a criminal investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct involving minors."

But because a minor is involved, Christianson said, his detectives cannot comment on the investigation.

One family confirmed Friday they had filed a complaint with the Sheriff's Department. The Bee is not releasing the family's name to protect the teen's identity.

Friday night, the reaction among the parents of the teens involved in the crash was swift and condemning.

"I know she's damaged some lives probably here and elsewhere and she needs to definitely come clean," said Tessa Garcia, whose 18-year-old son, Robert, crashed his 1989 Toyota 4Runner while driving the other teens home. "I'm just kind of speechless. I'm very thankful because I don't ever want this to happen to any other child here or anywhere else."

Richard Chase, 44, is the father of two of the crash victims. He said Friday evening he was glad to hear Walker-Vogt was being held accountable for her actions.

"Hopefully they can prosecute her, so it won't happen again," he said.

Chase said that his 15- and 13-year-old sons made "really poor decisions" by going to the party. He dropped them off at the Garcia home for what he believed was a sleepover. He said he was surprised to hear his sons went to a party, but that he was shocked to hear reports that Walker-Vogt drove the teenagers to her house for the party, bought them the alcohol and paid someone else to drive them home.

"It was planned," Chase said. "It wasn't a spur-of-the-moment kind of a thing. You don't expect those kind of things out of a parent."

Chase said he and his wife are considering joining other parents in taking legal action against Walker-Vogt. He said they will consider suing her only after law enforcement has completed its investigation.

The crash occurred on Highway 33 south of Westley.

Garcia had 11 teenagers piled into the back of his 4Runner, witnesses said. He had gone about four miles toward Patterson when the teens started shifting to get comfortable. Someone kicked him in the head, and he turned around to yell at them to stop, he said.

Garcia jerked the steering wheel to the left, and the truck swerved into the northbound lane. He overcorrected and the truck rolled.

Garcia and his 16-year-old brother managed to crawl out through the passenger door. The others in the back were ejected. During the crash, the roof above the truck bed tore off and all the teens flew out.

Two of the crash victims were airlifted to a hospital, Killian said. A young man fractured his skull and a young woman had spinal fractures, said parents of children in the wreck. Others suffered head and neck wounds that required stitches and staples.

Garcia was arrested on suspicion of felony drunken driving. He was released on $25,000 bail.

Bee staff writer Chris Togneri can be reached at 578-2324 or ctogneri@modbee.com.

Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at 578-2394 or rahumada@modbee.com.

Bee staff writer Merrill Balassone can be reached at 578-2337 or mbalassone@modbee.com.

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