Possible lead arises in Berry Creek killings as arrests made
A Berry Creek man was arrested Jan. 6 at the Canyon Creek Roadhouse Café on Oro Quincy Highway after employees notified the Butte County Sheriff’s Office that they had spotted what appeared to be a rifle barrel protruding from the back of his jacket.
According to a press release, sheriff’s deputies responded and, after a brief confrontation, arrested GD Hendrix as he exited the store.
Hendrix was reportedly armed with a fully loaded AK-47 semi-automatic assault rifle strapped to his back, a loaded .22 caliber revolver on his waist and a loaded .223 caliber pistol “draped over” his right arm. He was reportedly also carrying a concealed dagger and wearing brass knuckles around his neck.
Prior to his arrest, Hendrix had been named a person of interest in the killings of Plumas County residents Mike Kroencke and his wife, Olga, whose bodies were found Dec. 19 in their car parked on Galen Ridge Road in Berry Creek.
On Dec. 29, deputies and the Chico Police Department SWAT team served a search warrant at Hendrix’s Galen Ridge Road home, where he lives with his mother, Lotta Hendrix, 67. Neither of the Hendrixes was home at the time, but the search resulted in the seizure of an explosive device and firearms. At the time, arrest warrants in connection to the discovery were issued for each of them.
Upon his arrest, GD Hendrix was booked into the Butte County Jail on $1 million bail for six felony charges as well as one misdemeanor drug charge. They include possession of a destructive device, possession of an assault weapon, two counts of carrying a concealed weapon, possession of a controlled substance while carrying a firearm, carrying a dagger, and possession of a controlled substance. Hendrix was due to enter a plea at Butte County Superior Court on Wednesday, Jan. 14, just after CN&R’s deadline. He is being defended by public defender Robert Marshall. Court records show that Hendrix pleaded no contest to a charge of drug possession back in 2010.
Lotta Hendrix was arrested the same day as her son at a separate location in Berry Creek at about 11 p.m. and booked into the Butte County Jail with a bail of $500,000.
She is facing a single felony charge of possession of a destructive device and is being represented by attorney Mark Stapleton. She was charged with possession of a controlled substance in 1991 to which she pleaded not guilty. The matter was dismissed in 1995 after she completed a court-ordered diversion program.
As for the deceased couple, their plight was brought to the Sheriff’s Office’s attention when relatives, whose property borders the Hendrixes’ property, called on Dec. 20 to say they were concerned because the couple, who were on their way to visit their son, had not arrived when expected. Their bodies were discovered close to the property about three hours after the call was made.
The Kroenckes lived in the small Plumas County town of Cromberg.
According to a story in the Plumas County News, Mike Kroencke, 59, had worked for the Plumas County Public Works Department since 2002. Olga, 56, also worked for the county serving as an office automation specialist in the information technology department since 2005.
Plumas County Sheriff Greg Hagwood told the paper: “Our hearts go out to the Kroenckes’ family, friends and co-workers. This is a tragedy.”
Public Works Director Bob Perreault said Mike Kroencke worked as his assistant. “He was always cheerful,” Perreault said.
Olga Kroencke was also described in a positive light. Nancy DaForno, clerk to the Plumas County Board of Supervisors, described her as consistently cheerful, as“everybody’s go-to person.”
Plumas County Supervisor Lori Simpson told the paper she was shocked to learn of the Kroenckes’ deaths.
“I worked with both of them,” she said. “They were a hard-working, really great couple dedicated to the county and to their family.”
The Kroenckes leave behind a son, daughter and three grandsons.