KCSO: Kelso Valley manhunt suspect Benjamin Peter Ashley killed in Inyokern

18 days on the run

INYOKERN, Calif. - The Kern County Sheriff's Office said that the hunt for Kelso Valley manhunt suspect Benjamin Peter Ashley is over.

Sheriff Donny Youngblood said in a press conference Saturday at about 8:40 p.m. that, "It's the guy," regarding the man who was shot and killed in Inyokern. 

Youngblood later said that they haven't officially confirmed the ID of Ashley.

Youngblood said that they are waiting on DNA evidence to officially confirm that the man killed is Ashley, but said that the search is over.

Youngblood said, "We don't know yet whether he fired. But both deputies fired striking the suspect and killing him."

Youngblood said that he went and looked at the man and saw that he had a firearm and said, "I'm convinced it's him."

“When you’re afraid and you’re running you can cover a lot of ground so it did not surprise me. But it did surprise me that he was able to allude us for two weeks,” Youngblood said.

An autopsy is scheduled for Monday morning, but officials said that fingerprints will be used to ID Ashley.

At about 4:45 p.m., a clerk at Brady's Mini-Mart, Gary Welfl, said that a man matching Ashley's description entered his store.


Store owner of Brady's Mini Mart says he saw Benjamin Peter Ashley enter his store around 4:45.

Posted by Stephen Hicks 23ABC on Saturday, August 15, 2015

Ashley has been on the run for 18 days after authorities said he fatally shot 64-year-old Tehachapi dentist David Markiewitz on July 31.

The storeowner said he recognized him from local media reports.


Welfl told 23ABC that Ashley bought $100 worth of junk food and looked rugged and dusty like he had been hiking all night. 


After Ashley left, Welfl said he texted his sister hat he saw. His sister called police and they responded shortly after.

Welfl said that shortly after the man left the store, there were a series of gunshots that were heard in the desert area behind his store.

KCSO detectives said that the deputies involved in the shooting were unhurt.

Print this article Back to Top