TWIN FALLS — The 18-year-old driver of a car that crashed just south of Twin Falls on Thanksgiving evening succumbed to her injuries Monday.
Alexa Brown of Twin Falls was flown to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise after the car she was driving went off the road and rolled over, according to a statement from Idaho State Police. The crash took place at the intersection of Foothill Road and N 3000 E.
The two passengers in the car, 49-year-old Aaron Brown and 47-year-old Kathy Brown, also of Twin Falls, were taken to St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center for treatment.
Aaron Brown was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, police said, while Alexa and Kathy Brown were not.
BURLEY — Jerome County Sheriff Doug McFall confirmed Monday that partial remains recovered in Jerome County belong to Tiffani Streling, who went missing on May 16, 2015.
McFall said the identity of the bones discovered at a construction site a couple of weeks ago was confirmed by the Ada County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The remains were found in the eastern part of the county.
“It’s been a rough couple of weeks,” Tiffani’s father, William Streling, said.
Streling said the family recently buried his grandmother and they found out the remains were Tiffani’s on Saturday.
“We are doing OK,” said Melissa Belt, Tiffani’s mother. “We are still upset but we are also relieved that she was found.”
Belt said police told the family they suspected it was Tiffani.
“It will be good to bring her home,” Belt said. “It was really hard not knowing where she was. Now we know and of course it was the worst case scenario but I’m so relieved to at least know where she is now.”
William Streling said at this time the family does not have plans for a memorial service.
“It depends on how long it takes. We want to wait for her remains to be returned to us,” he said. “If it takes a long time we may go ahead and hold a memorial service and lay her to rest.”
McFall said the remains were found “in a rural area,” but the sheriff’s office is not revealing the exact location to protect the site in case further investigation is required.
The Jerome County Sheriff’s Office took the lead in recovery of the remains but the Cassia County Sheriff’s Office will handle the criminal investigation, McFall said.
The remains were identified through dental records, and DNA evidence has been sent to a federal lab for processing.
No clothing or other items were found along with the body, he said.
“At this time we do not have a determination on the method or cause of death,” McFall said.
Cassia County Undersheriff George Warrell said his office is continuing to investigate the case “as a possible homicide.”
“Finding the remains is of great importance to the case and leads us in the direction we need to go,” Warrell said.
Finding the remains confirms for the sheriff office that there was a death and it is not a missing person case, he said.
He declined to say whether there is a suspect in the case.
“We are following up on every lead and every bit of information,” he said.
BURLEY — Cindy and Jerald Cole knew their daughter was in trouble when they got a phone call from the man who killed her.
“The day it happened he called my husband and said, ‘something is wrong with Melissia,’” said Cindy Cole, Melissia Kincaid’s mother. “He called my husband and then called 911.”
Ronnie G. Kincaid Jr., Melissia’s husband, was sentenced in September to spend at least 20 years in prison for second-degree murder in her vicious death. Melissia died Sept. 6, 2015, at the couple’s Declo home.
“She was not just a victim,” Cindy said, settling her small frame onto her sofa at their home west of Burley, her soft brown eyes blinking back the tears. “She was somebody’s daughter, sister and friend. At 34 years old my daughter lost her life to something that could have been prevented.”
As a child, Melissia was a daddy’s girl. She followed her father everywhere on the farm as he milked cows or worked on vehicles.
“She didn’t like dresses or lace,” Cindy said. “Whatever dad was doing she was always right behind him. When she was little, she loved stink bugs and she would always put them in her pocket,” she said a small smile breaking through her somber mood.
Melissia also loved animals of any kind.
“If an animal needed help, if it was abandoned or stray and needed a home, she’d give it one,” she said.
As her daughter got older she liked to put together scrapbook pages for her boys, now ages 11 and 15.
“She liked making things for the kids,” Cindy said.
Cindy and Melissia’s father, Jerald, raised eight children. Now they care for Melissia’s sons.
“Sometimes it’s rough but we do the best we can” Cindy said. “Having them here is like having a part of her here.”
Melissia’s youngest sister, Amanda Navarrete, 23, said Melissia took care of her when she was little.
“She was like a little mommy to her,” Cindy said.
Melissia was kind and would help anyone in need, she said.
As memories cascaded into Cindy’s mind, she paused.
“Memories can be good but they can also be hard,” she said.
Pain tends to smudge the edges of the good memories and dampen the joy they once brought.
Her daughter was tortured before she was killed, and even though Kincaid is in prison, she feels justice has not been done.
The plea deal offered to Kincaid by the state helped the family preserve their “good memories,” she said, and a trial would have been graphic and horrible.
Cindy thinks Kincaid never told the truth about what happened, and versions of what happened told to her by one of Melissia’s children — who were in the home when their mother was killed — differ from his.
Many of the details of that awful night still do not add up or make sense, Cindy said, and she waits for the prosecutor to make good on his promise to refile charges against Kincaid’s son, Ronnie Kincaid III, who police originally said helped his father place his stepmother’s body in the shower to rinse away blood and DNA.
After the murder, he was charged with accessory to murder and destroying or concealing evidence, but the prosecutor dismissed the charges.
Cassia County Prosecutor Doug Abenroth said in an April 2016 statement that a judge was unwilling to delay the trial prompting him to drop the charges, and he intended to refile the case at a later date.
“There is no specific timeline for re-filing charges,” Abenroth wrote in an email to the Times-News on Tuesday. He declined further comment.
Cindy takes solace in the thought that Melissia likely passed out before her death and didn’t have to endure the pain at the end.
“It was not a stabbing or a bullet wound,” Cindy said. “What he did was vicious and horrible.”
Police learned that Kincaid had brutally sexually assaulted his intoxicated wife, which caused her to bleed to death. The sentencing judge in Kincaid’s case said her blood-alcohol level was too high for Melissia to have given any sort of consent to the activity that caused her injuries.
Because of the way her daughter died, Cindy said, some people have been cruel, insinuating she enjoyed the assault or somehow deserved what happened.
“She is not the person everyone thinks because of the way she died,” Cindy said. “She didn’t deserve to go through what she did.”
Melissia and Ronnie Kincaid Jr. went on a date to the Twin Falls County Fair with another couple earlier that day, Cindy said, as she studied her phone showing the last photograph taken of her smiling daughter wearing the clothes she was killed in.
When Cindy arrived at her daughter’s house after the murder, she said Kincaid kept telling everyone that Melissia was having menstrual problem — as if to explain all the blood.
“I looked at him and told him ‘You killed her,’” Cindy said.
Amanda was simply struck with disbelief at first, her mind unable to comprehend the horror and finality of what had happened.
Coincidentally, Kincaid went into a Burley restaurant where Amanda was the day police were called to the home.
“He sat by me and looked out the window,” she said.
Amanda did not buy what she saw as “fake tears.”
When they went to pick out a casket, Kincaid showed bravado, saying Melissia deserved the “best of the best,” Cindy said.
He was acting like he was picking out a new house or car instead of a casket for his wife, she said.
“It was just not right,” she said. “He was not a grieving husband.”
Melissia was married to Kincaid about 10 years.
“He kept her away from the family, especially my mom,” Amanda said. “He didn’t like my mom.”
Cindy didn’t care for Kincaid’s drinking.
“He seemed like a guy you just couldn’t trust,” she said.
But Melissia wasn’t the type of person to talk about problems at home.
“She’d always put a smile on her face and wouldn’t tell you what’s going on,” Cindy said.
Melissia was in an abusive marriage prior to her relationship with Kincaid, she said, and she had trouble telling people how bad it was.
“She was embarrassed by it,” Cindy said.
Sexual abuse, she said, is even harder to talk about.
The Coles did not get to bury their daughter until Jan. 29, 2016, in a closed casket funeral.
“It had to be closed because it had been so long,” Cindy said. “They kept her in a freezer like a piece of meat. He took everything away from us. We couldn’t even see her or say goodbye.”
Not being able to visit her sister now and be a part of her life are constant aches, Amanda said.
Finding normalcy after losing a child is difficult especially during holidays, Cindy said.
“Never forgotten,” she said. “Fly with the angels.”