Mendocino County Sheriff's Office
Press Release
(Title of Crime/Incident) Death Investigation
Report Number:
Coroner Number:
Death Investigation
76201 Highway 162 Covelo, California 95428
When: Date: 01-20-2013 Time: 1445 hours
Victim Info :        
  Name Age Street Address City, State
Victim #1: Kevin Harlan 46 Covelo, California
Suspect Info:        
  Name Age Street Address City, State
Suspect #1: Samuel Franco 36 Covelo, California
Written by: Captain Greg Van Patten
Synopsis: On 01-20-2013 at 1453 hours a Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy was dispatched to Keith's Market in Covelo, California in regards to reported physical altercation.

Upon arriving at the grocery store the Sheriff's Deputy discovered Kevin Harlan was being examined by personnel from the Covelo Ambulance Service.

The Sheriff's Deputy interviewed eyewitnesses and reviewed store surveillance footage of the reported altercation.

The Sheriff's Deputy learned Harlan and Samuel Franco were both shopping inside of the store at the time of the incident.

Franco was standing at the deli counter when Harlan approached and stood closely beside Franco. Harlan began to engage Franco in unpleasant conversation has the pair had an unfriendly relationship.

During the conversation Franco extended the side of his arm to move Harlan from his position. This prompted Harlan to slap Franco in the head with a glancing blow.

The pair engaged in further unpleasant conversation at a short distance before Franco punched Harlan one time in the face with a closed fist. Harlan immediately fell to the ground and remained there for several minutes in an unresponsive state.

Medical personnel were summoned to the store and attempted to provide treatment to Harlan who later became somewhat responsive. Harlan refused medical treatment against the advice of ambulance personnel.

The Sheriff's Deputy accepted Franco's private personís arrest of Harlan for battery, as a result of the slapping incident inside of the store.

The Sheriff's Deputy placed Harlan in handcuffs and was placing him in the backseat area of the Deputy's patrol vehicle when Harlan unexpectedly showed signs of a medical emergency.

Harlan was immediately released to the care of ambulance personnel who were still on scene. Harlan was transported to an out of county hospital by air ambulance for further medical treatment.

On 01-29-2013 Harlan was recovering in the hospital when he suffered another medical emergency and died as a result.

Sheriff's Detectives are conducting further investigations into Harlan's death and will be submitting their investigative reports to the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office for review.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is urged to call the Sheriff's Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100.

Approved By: Captain Greg Van Patten