By KAREN VELIE
The couple swept up in the search for the gun that San Luis Obispo Police Chief Deanna Cantrell lost in a restaurant bathroom is being allowed to see their children again. [Cal Coast Times]
Cheyne Orndoff and Vanessa Bedroni shared a birthday cake with their 8- and 9-year-old daughters after the ruling by Judge Timothy Covello allowed them contact with the children.
Orndorf and Bedroni’s children were taken from them after police failed to find the chief’s gun during a warrantless search of their home. Failing to find the gun, police then reported the couple to Child Protective Services because they found the couple’s home dirty. They were arrested on charges of child neglect.
The children were taken from the home and the couple was subject to an order denying them the right to phone or see their two daughters. A Tuesday hearing in Covello’s chambers involving the prosecution and defense attorneys resulted in the modification to the protective order.
The family’s ordeal began on July 10 when Chief Cantrell left her Glock 42 pistol on the toilet paper holder in the bathroom of an El Pollo Loco restaurant. The gun is banned for sale to the public in California because it has been deemed unsafe because it has no external safety and has what is known as a short trigger pull. The Glock has been blamed in a number of deaths including that of a Florida police officer.
A surveillance video showed a clean-shaven man entering the bathroom after Chief Cantrell left. A Morro Bay officer saw the video and said the man shown was Orndoff. However Orndoff has a full beard and mustache.
Police descended on Orndoff’s home, and asked his permission to search his house even though several officers noted he looked nothing like the suspect, Orndoff said.
Orndoff said no, saying that he was not at the restaurant and he did not take the chief’s gun. Detectives Jason Dickle and Suzie Walsh declared because he was on probation they did not need a warrant for a search, Orndoff said. The police then searched the house but failed to find the gun.
Ordoff was not on probation.
His brother, Cole Orndoff, had stolen Cheyne Orndoff’s identity and passed himself off as Cheyne as he committed crimes. In 2017, officers arrested Cole Orndoff for drug related offenses and for impersonating his brother Cheyne Orndoff.
A few months later, Cole Orndoff pleaded no contest to five misdemeanors charges including a count of impersonation. Judge Craig van Rooyen sentenced Cole Orndoff to time served and three years informal probation, according to court records.
In logging the probation of Cole Orndoff into the county criminal justice information system, it appears that either an employee of the superior court or of the district attorney’s office wrongly listed Cheyne Orndoff as the defendant and not the victim.
After SLO police officers raided the couple’s home, they put their daughters, then 7 and 9, in foster care, and arrested them for child neglect because of a dirty house.
Last weekend, the couple was reunited with Princess, the family’s dog. Princess was seized and put in the pound when the couple was arrested and their children taken.
Since Orndoff was mistakenly entered into the county criminal justice information system, a string of errors and violations of his and Bedroni’s rights have occurred.
During the arrest, Orndoff said he was not read his Miranda Rights.
In California, arrestees are required to be arraigned within three days. Even though Orndoff and Bedroni were arrested on July 10, they were kept in jail until their arraignment on July 15.
Because the search on their home was conducted without a warrant and the fact that the man suspected of taking the gun was clean-shaven while Orndoff was bearded, it is likely the couple’s attorneys will argue that anything found in the home, including photos police took inside the house, were obtained illegally, and as such would not be admissible under the exclusionary rule.
In an attempt to raise money to make repairs at their home and to help cover legal expenses, the couple posted a plea for assistance on GoFundMe.