An Oakhurst man was shot dead outside his home on Road 423 Monday after an argument between himself and three Hispanic males over a pot growing operation, Madera County Sheriff’s officials confirmed.
On Tuesday, the sheriff’s office identified the victim as Timothy Fadgen, 47 of Oakhurst.
Sheriff’s Lt. Zack Zamudio said Fadgen was killed shortly after 7:30 p.m. when he confronted three adult Hispanic males about their illegal marijuana growing operation near his home on the 52000 block of Road 423. An argument took place and Fadgen was shot, Zamudio said.
“Oakhurst is a pretty safe community, so it’s very unusual that this would happen,” Zamudio said.
Sheriff’s officials later said two separate growing locations, being cultivated by the three suspects, were discovered and 482 plants were seized. The marijuana had an estimated street value of $578,400.
Zamudio couldn’t say whether Fadgen was benefiting from the grow financially, as the investigation is in its initial stages. Fadgen’s body was removed from the home by Tuesday morning, Zamudio said.
“We are investigating the connection he may have had with these suspects,” Zamudio said. “We believe through investigation so far that he was aware of the grow before this took place.”
After shooting Fadgen, the three suspects fled the area in a blue or green minivan with tinted windows, Zamudio said. It was believed to be an older model van from the late 1990s to early 2000s, but the make wasn’t known, he said.
Anyone with information about the suspects or vehicle is asked to call the Madera County Sheriff’s Office at (559) 675-7770 or Valley Crime Stoppers at (559) 498-STOP (7867). Callers can be kept anonymous.
Zamudio said witnesses at the home, as well as sheriff’s deputies and fire and emergency personnel, attempted to administer CPR and other lifesaving measures to Fadgen but he was pronounced dead.
Ward said Fadgen likely suffered gunshot wounds to his upper torso. A neighbor said Fadgen lived in the house with his wife, who was disabled, and other relatives.
A family member of Fadgen’s, who will be kept anonymous, stopped by the home Tuesday morning. As she spoke to sheriff’s office investigators, she said she didn’t believe Fadgen was involved in any dangerous criminal activity.
“I don’t think he was a bad guy,” she said between sobs. “I know (the suspects) are all bastards, but I know (Fadgen) wouldn’t have done anything wrong to end up like this. He helped out around here. I don’t know what to think.”
Zamudio estimated the size of the property where Fadgen and his family lived at 10 acres, located largely in a forested neighborhood.
Monday’s incident marks fifth mountain murder in past year
Although this is the first murder in the Mountain Area this calendar year, it is the fifth murder investigation in Eastern Madera County in the past 12 months, with one person convicted thus far.
On Dec. 17 last year, Bonnie Hale, 76 and a respected former North Fork Rancheria Mono Tribal Council member, was allegedly killed by her neighbor, Mary O’Keefe, 64, during a fight. O’Keefe awaits her next court hearing to determine whether she is mentally capable of standing trial.
Around midnight Nov. 15, George Taylor-Windsor, 26, sitting in the backseat of a Ford F150 as it traveled down Highway 41 from Bass Lake, went on a stabbing rampage killing Jessica Nelson, 23 of Foresthill, and injuring Reid Kallengberg, 32 of Auburn.
Taylor-Windsor was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole last month.
On Oct. 22, Craig Anthony Fetty, 29, and Tiffany Dambrino, 21, were arrested for allegedly murdering Dennis Dolan, 68, at his home in Ahwahnee with a knife. During a preliminary hearing in March, it was determined the two will stand trial. They await their next court hearing without bail in Madera County Jail.
Then, on Aug. 6, 2016, Jason Jerome Henderson, 45, was stabbed to death during an altercation in the lower parking lot of the Silver Creek Shopping Center in Oakhurst. No arrests have been made.