Updated: Oct 24
On Friday October 21, 2022 at around 11pm the Newport Police Department was dispatched to the Yaquina Bay Bridge regarding construction materials in the roadway. While attempting to clear the roadway, the Officer heard someone yelling for help. The Officer contacted the person yelling for help and observed they had blood all over their face and head, a laceration to the back of the head, and their hands were tied tightly behind their back. Officers freed the victim’s hands and the victim was transported by ambulance to Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital.
Newport Police Officers and Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputies searched the area but were unable to locate a suspect or witnesses at that time. Officers learned that earlier that same evening, the victim had been escorted by the suspect down a discrete trail off of the main pathway within the Yaquina Bay State Park. The victim was then struck in the head with a weapon and tackled to the ground. The victim was threatened not to fight back or they would continue to be assaulted. The victim was then “hog tied” using rope and shoe laces. The suspect then left and fled the area with all the victim’s belongings.
The victim was eventually able to free their feet and find their way out of the park and onto the bridge, where they were contacted by an Officer. The victim provided suspect and witness information, and a description of an involved vehicle.
On Saturday October 22, 2022 at around 3am Officers observed the suspect vehicle parked at JC Thriftway. Officers contacted the suspect and witnesses. The suspect was identified as 34- year old Thomas Brannies, of Keizer.
Witnesses confirmed Brannies and the victim had entered the park together and Brannies returned later without the victim. Officers observed the victim’s stolen belongings inside of Brannies vehicle. Officers also learned that Brannies had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for assault. Brannies was arrested at the scene and lodged at the Lincoln County Jail on the following charges;
Assault in the second degree
Kidnapping in the second degree
Unlawful Use of Weapon
Theft in the second degree