Red Bluff in mourning

Murder and drowning deaths leave small town grieving

Residents of Red Bluff were dealt two tragedies involving three deaths last week.

On Thursday (Feb. 28) the body of missing 14-year-old Marysa Nichols was found near Red Bluff High School, two days after her disappearance. A school surveillance video from the day Nichols went missing showed Tehama County resident Quentin Ray Bealer, 39, walking along a nearby path. The teen was shown on the same path about a minute later. Bealer, who has a criminal history of burglary, battery and drug possession, turned himself in two days later and was charged with murder. An autopsy indicates the victim died of strangulation.

On March 2 James VanSickle, 27, of Red Bluff, and his 5-year-old son drowned in a pond. The elder VanSickle was attempting to save the boy, who’d fallen out of their boat on Murphy’s Pond near Cottonwood while fishing.