Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Friday, Oct. 13, 2023 @ 10:46 a.m. / Crime
Del Norte Sheriff's Deputy Killed In Possible Homicide; Suspect Still Outstanding
The Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office is mourning the loss of one of their deputies and is searching for the person believed to have killed her, Sheriff Garrett Scott told the Wild Rivers Outpost on Friday.
Deputy Deanna Esmaeel was found dead at her home on North Bank Road at about 10 a.m. Thursday, Scott said. The sheriff said he sent a staff member to Esmaeel’s home when she didn’t show up for work and wasn’t answering phone calls.
The suspect in the case is Esmaeel’s boyfriend, 54-year-old Edward Patrick Davies, formerly known as Daniel James Walter, who left the area on foot, Scott said.
Del Norte County Superior Court Judge Darren McElfresh issued a warrant for Davies’ arrest. According to Scott, Davies was last seen on North Bank Road at about 7:43 a.m. Thursday wearing a beret-style hat, a white jacket and blue jeans. He was last seen traveling westbound on North Bank Road toward U.S. 101, the sheriff said.
“Walter has connections to Curry County, Oregon,” Scott told the Outpost, referring to Davies, adding that he had legally changed his name in July. “He drives a black 2010 Mazda 4-door sedan with California license plate 6JYD676.”
Davies is a 6-foot tall white male with blue eyes and brown hair and he weighs 180 pounds.
Scott said since camera footage only shows immediate front of Esmaeel’s home, it’s possible Davies may have had a car parked in the area, though that’s undetermined at this point.
Esmaeel took the oath of office as a Del Norte County sheriff’s deputy on March 19, 2021. She moved to the area from Los Angeles County and had a strong desire to serve as a peace officer, but pursued a career in the film industry.
According to Internet Movie Database, Esmaeel worked on the film crew for the “Army of Darkness” and the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” TV series.
According to a Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office Facebook post after Esmaeel was sworn in as a deputy, she had seen a recruitment flyer for a female law enforcement officer and decided to fulfill her “lifelong goal.”
“It’s time for me to take everything I have learned in my life and help other people,” Esmaeel said in a written statement after then-sheriff Erik Apperson swore her in.
On Friday, Scott said Esmaeel was beloved by everyone in his department — “everybody’s pretty heartbroken.”
“My heart goes out to the family and all the loved ones,” Scott said. “It’s a very very sad situation. We’ll do everything we can legally to get justice for her.”