El Dorado County sheriff's officials say community efforts helped investigators identify and arrest a 56-year-old man in connection with the theft and death of one horse, and the attempted theft and sexual assault of another horse.
Bryon Baker (pictured), identified as a transient in the Cameron and Rescue areas, was taken into custody Wednesday after investigators conducted a probation search of his motor home, according to a Sheriff's Office news release.
On Jan. 30, the Sheriff's Office began an investigation regarding a horse that was stolen from the stables of High Heart Ranch. The horse was found dead the same day in nearby Jay Hawk Cemetery. Investigators said the horse died from injuries sustained while under control of the individual who stole it.
Following the incident, Rescue residents posted reward fliers throughout the community and surrounding area. Sheriff's officials said that the posters and the tips they elicited helped lead to this week's arrest.
On May 16, a separate investigation was launched following reports of an attempted horse theft and sexual assault on a horse. Multiple witnesses in the case later were able to assist in identifying the suspect, officials said, and investigators were able to link the two cases.
During the search of Baker's motor home Wednesday, investigators seized items as evidence in both cases, officials said.
Baker was booked into El Dorado County Jail on suspicion of grand theft of a horse, cruelty to animals causing suffering and/or death, attempted theft of a second horse and sexual assault on the second horse.