Atascadero police dispatcher Rebecca Romero was honored by city officials Tuesday night for helping authorities capture the man accused of killing two sisters from the Owens Valley and breaking into a man's home in Atascadero and striking him with a wrench.
The incidents began on the evening of Christmas Day and ended in the early morning hours of Dec. 26, 2010.
By listening to radio traffic and doing additional research, Romero was the first to realize that the man Atascadero police had suspected in the assault was the same man sheriff’s deputies were seeking in the double-homicide, officials said.
“Based on her ability to put it all together while multitasking, she was the one who figured it out,” Atascadero Sgt. Gregg Meyer said.
Atascadero police caught Andrew Downs on Dec. 26 and turned him over to the Sheriff’s Department.
A diagnosed schizophrenic, Downs has pleaded not guilty to the murders of Kathy Yeager and Beverly Reilly. He also pleaded not guilty to the assault of Glen Johnson of Atascadero.
Downs is due back in San Luis Obispo Superior Court for a pre-preliminary hearing on April 26.
Romero, 28, received a Chief’s Commendation award Tuesday night during a public presentation before the Atascadero City Council. Sheriff Ian Parkinson and Atascadero's acting Chief of Police Steve Gesell led the ceremony.