Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Monday, Oct. 16, 2023 @ 10:42 a.m. / Crime

Suspect in Deputy's Homicide Extradited to Del Norte County; Sheriff Says He's Working To Transfer Walter To Humboldt


Daniel James Walter, the man suspected of killing Deputy Deanna Esmaeel, is currently awaiting arraignment at the Del Norte County Jail, Sheriff Garrett Scott told the Wild Rivers Outpost on Monday.

Brookings police arrested Walter, also known as Edward Patrick Davies, at a homeless encampment near the Chetco River at about 6:30 p.m. Friday, Scott said. The suspect was extradited to Del Norte County and was booked into the jail at about 10 a.m. Saturday, according to the sheriff.

“The day he was arrested, investigators did some research and found that he frequented a bead shop in Brookings along the Chetco River, so they contacted the Brookings Police Department to go check the area for him,” Scott said. “Sure enough, Brookings Police Department located him in a transient homeless camp in that area.”

Esmaeel was found dead at her home on North Bank Road at about 10 a.m. Thursday. The sheriff told the Outpost that he had sent a staff member to her home when Esmaeel didn’t show up for work and wasn’t answering phone calls.

According to Scott, camera footage captures Walter, Esmaeel’s boyfriend, leaving her home at about 7:43 a.m. Thursday.

The sheriff said Walter was arrested without incident, though he refused to talk to detectives.

Scott said he’s working with Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal to transfer Walter to the Humboldt County Jail. However, Walter will have to be arraigned in Del Norte County before that transfer can take place.

“I don’t want my deputies to have to interact with him daily,” Scott said. “I think it would be better for the overall agency to have him in a different facility. I also think it’s just safer for him to be in a different jail.”

Walter’s bail is currently set at $1 million, according to the DNSO’s Online Information System. His arraignment has not yet been scheduled, according to the District Attorney’s office.

Deanna Esmaeel takes the oath of office as a Del Norte County sheriff's deputy in this March 19, 2021 photo courtesy of the Del Norte County Sheriff's Office.

Meanwhile, Scott said he has formed a committee to organize memorial services for Esmaeel, who took the oath of office as a deputy in March 2021. Scott said he will inform the public and law enforcement agencies once that memorial service is scheduled.

Esmaeel, who had a career in the film industry in the Los Angeles area, became a peace officer late in life in the hopes that she’d make a difference, Scott said.

“Truly her heart was in to helping people and giving back to the community,” Scott said. “She was definitely loved by all, and it’s heartbreaking to anyone that knew her and the family. And of course, our staff is heartbroken.”


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