Baby Attacked On G Street, Woman Arrested (Updated) – April 18, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Molly Barnes

Note: Here is an updated version of the story which appears in this week’s Arcata Eye. The initial press APD press release follows the story. – Ed.

Kevin L. Hoover

Eye Editor

ARCATA – For months, Molly Barnes, the woman known to many as “Dreadzilla” has wandered Arcata’s downtown, panhandling, hanging out and sometimes getting into fights and going to jail.

The woman’s erratic actions, such as talking to herself, flicking a knife around and repeatedly smoking cigarettes in the front entrance of Jacoby’s Storehouse, inspired many police calls and banishments from various downtown businesses.

Barnes’ inappropriate behavior was mostly just an annoyance to downtowners, though her all-black garb, large boots and generally downcast gaze offered a somewhat menacing countenance.

Last Wednesday, April 18, Barnes’ behavior took a violent turn, according to witnesses. At about 12:50 p.m., Arcata Police officers were called to the 800 block of G Street on the report of a female causing a disturbance.

Arriving officers observed what looked like a fight in progress. What they and other witnesses outside the Big Blue Café were seeing was Barnes being subdued by the unidentified father of a 16-month-old girl whom she had just allegedly kicked.

The child was taken to Mad River Community Hospital by ambulance. She suffered moderate injuries in the assault, which police later said were minor abrasions with no lasting physical injury. The girl was treated in the Emergency Room and released.

Barnes was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on charges of Felony Battery, Child Abuse; Willfully Causing a Corporal Injury to a Child and Probation Violation. Her bail was set at $75,000 – $50,000 for the alleged assault and another $25,000 for probation violation.

The alleged baby-kicking came immediately after a bout of bizarre activity near the Transit Center, where she had been seen punching car windows and slashing tires on City vehicles.

Officers learned that just prior to the incident on G Street, Barnes had allegedly damaged vehicles at the Intermodal Transit Facility on Ninth Street. The damage was estimated at more than $400, making it a felony. Police said Barnes was positively identified through the use of video cameras in the area. Some of the tires had blood on them, but it was not known whether the blood was Barnes’. She was additionally booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for a violation of Felony Vandalism and Probation Violation.

Downtown businessperson Terry Brill was the first to observe Barnes’ rolling rampage. While walking to lunch, he saw her punching car windows near the Arcata Ball Park. “I called out, ‘Hey!’ to make her quit,” Brill said. Barnes offered no response and continued punching the windows “really hard,” Brill said.

Brill called police, then trailed Barnes as she rambled around the Plaza. He said she went into Café Brio, came back out, then went down to Jacoby’s Storehouse for a few minutes and came back out, headed for G Street and looking “really angry.”

Police then arrived on the Plaza, and Brill pointed Barnes out to them. “As soon as I pointed ‘over there,’ she kicked the little kid,” Brill said. The girl’s mother tried to defend her child while the father punched her in the face.

Bloodied, Barnes ran off westward and made it as far as Eighth and H streets near Jacoby’s Storehouse when she was arrested.

She pleaded not guilty Friday, April 20 to charges of child endangerment, corporal injury to a child, assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury and attempted homicide

Just the latest incident

Barnes is well known to Arcata Police. Earlier that day, at 3:30 a.m., she had been arrested for theft of cigarettes at Don’s Donut Bar and probation violation, and had been booked and released.

Her arrest record in Arcata dates back to April 23, 2011, with four more arrests plus other contacts prior to last Wednesday. “It usually comes in as a white male causing a disturbance,” said APD Det. Lt. Todd Dokweiler.

He said Barnes had been arrested in the Yreka area in 2010 for alleged domestic violence and terrorist threats. In Arcata in June of 2011, she stabbed a man in front of the donut shop after an argument, was convicted of felony assault but released after time served in county jail. She had been free on probation for that assault up until last week.

“It’s very clear that she has some mental issues,” Dokweiler said. He said her full record will be documented with the case presented to the District Attorney’s Office, which will decide the final charges.

Dokweiler said Barnes is unlikely to be released prior to any trial or other court action. “Given the nature of the crime, I’m sure they’ll hold her until she sees a judge,” Dokweiler said.

John Shelter, former operations manager at the North Coast Resource Center, said that he recognized symptoms of severe schizophrenia in Barnes based on his crisis intervention training.

Shelter said Barnes suffered from multiple forms of hallucinations – visual, auditory and even tactile.

“She would see things that she was imagining,” he said.

As with many people afflicted with schizophrenia, Barnes believed that some kind of device had been implanted in her brain, and even showed Shelter the back of her head where she believed the unit had been surgically inserted.

He said she thought she was being stalked and harassed by an assailant for whom she had a name, and that she would sometimes believe that she was being molested by the imaginary nemesis.

“You could actually see it,” Shelter said. “She’d be pulling her shirt down and pushing away someone’s hand that was grabbing her breast.”

During periods of lucidity, Shelter said she was able to talk about her interests. “We had some great moments when she talked about her family,” he said. “Music was important to her.”

Consistent with her goth gear, she was into heavy metal music, Shelter said.

Downtowner Brandon Mellon said Barnes gave off a “spooky sad vibe,” but that he was able to converse with her on the Plaza at times. “I recall her talking to me about the area and people,” he said. “I talked to her about technology, phones and even politics for a few minutes once after giving her some coffee money.”

Shelter said there are others like Barnes who are seriously in need of treatment and trying to navigate the world with a head full of noise and imaginary enemies.

“Molly was a ticking time bomb, and we all knew that,” Shelter said. “We’ve got to do better.”

APD Press Release

On Wednesday, April 18, 2012, at approximately 12:50 p.m., officers from the Arcata Police Department were dispatched to the 800 block of G Street, on the report of a female causing a disturbance.  

As the officers were arriving, they observed what looked like a fight in progress.  They were advised that the female had kicked and injured a small child.  

The female, 28-year-old Molly Barnes, a transient from the Placerville area, was initially subdued by the child’s father and was then taken into custody by APD officers.  The struggle the officers had observed was Barnes being subdued.

A mugshot from a previous arrest that is more representative of Molly Barnes' everyday appearance.



The child, a 16-month-old female, was taken to Mad River Hospital by ambulance.  The child suffered moderate injuries in the assault.  She was treated in the Hospital Emergency Department and released.

Barnes was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for Felony Battery, Child Abuse; Willfully Causing a Corporal Injury to a Child and Probation Violation.

During the course of their investigation, officers learned that just prior to the incident on G Street, Barnes had damaged vehicles at the City of Arcata Intermodal Transit Facility on Ninth Street. The damage caused there was estimated to be over $400.  Barnes was positively identified through the use of video cameras in the area.  

She was additionally booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for a violation of Felony Vandalism and Probation Violation.  She remains in custody.


45 Responses to “Baby Attacked On G Street, Woman Arrested (Updated) – April 18, 2012”

  1. watcher

    Only the best in Arcata I say round up all the street bums put them on a bus and ship them out!

  2. Citizen

    At least she gets a bed and a meal tonight…

  3. Black-Flag

    She’s lucky Dad showed mercy, I’d have broken her neck.

  4. When the State Mental Hospital system was dismantled, the thinking was that, with new psychotropic medicines available, the mentally ill could all be treated on an out-patient basis. Now, there will never be enough beds to take care of chronically mentally ill people.

  5. Concerned

    Can you please post her photo on here like you did the prostitutes & the jons. Because I have a child, & live in Arcata. I consider her a much larger threat than the other’s who are posted on here.

  6. Mudflat matt

    I don’t even go downtown anymore. More scary bums from out of town than locals.

  7. Heather

    Arcata is going deeper in the homeless scrunge. something has to be done because its only a matter of time when a kid is going to get killed by the bums.

  8. baffled

    Her description. She’s about 5’10” mid length red dreadlocks thin and wiry she wears a trench coat, black or tan depending on the day and combat boots. however what baffles me most is, in the morning of april 18th at around 3 am she was arrested for an attempted robbery and assault at Dons doughnuts she was trying to steal cigarettes. How was she out of jail and able to do any of this at all? If the afternoon assault violated her probation wouldn’t one assume that the early morning theft and assault would be a violation as well?

  9. Boonty

    She was previously arrested for stabbing a man and was on parole. She is well known downtown for many public incidents. The police had been called about her numerous times.

  10. Mark Sailors

    I am so sorry for the little girl, and her parents. I had an incident with this crazy person and my 2 year old daughter.

  11. IF

    Given the crowding in the jail, she likely got out quick, and a new offense on parole can switch the offender to probationary status

  12. Mark Sailors

    If they let her out of jail, the system is truly broken beyond repair.

  13. Andrew Bridenbaugh

    Personally I think having transients in Arcata at all,especially on the plaza is rediculous when they are almost always causing trouble. Why does it take an assault to get them to from causing a problem? There’s got to be a solution to these transients that have been here for 20+ years

  14. macadoshius

    It makes me wonder if her transient status has to do with the fact shes been cut loose so often…guess they cant get water from a stone…i bet if it had been a employed person with money,they’d of kept her in a cage until she gave them some..kina pathetic huh?

  15. Cartman

    Kick your baby! CARTMAN RULES.

  16. Samantha

    I applaud the dad for his restraint. I would have grounded her into a stain on the sidewalk.

  17. Concerned Too

    Yes, as previously mentioned, please publish the mug shot so when she’s released again, the public can recognize this person on the street and stay out of harm’s way.

  18. LM

    Mental illness, or otherwise, she’s proven incapable of roaming the streets. Her family should take care of her, in a perfect scenario, even if she has to be shipped on a block of ice off of the Alaskan coast.

  19. wo $av ~Winter

    Thank you to Arcata Eye for publishing her mugshots (T-S chose to exclude them)! Anyone who rgularly visits the plaza recognizes this chick & are more than aware that she carries a constant threat of physical harm to any random being within her eyeshot/ or in semi-close proximity to her. Barnez has actually cut, sliced, and/or stabbed personal acquaintances! “Regualrs” that frequent plaza area & tavern row ,share a special make-shift(?) comraderie/community, have tried to bring her in to the group. However, Barnes consistant negative/obnoxiously violent temperment makes this near-impossible. So, long story long, i don’t understand how she can freely walkabout in public, since the police are quite aware of her phsically violent tendencies. Wow. I mean, come on! This (or something *God forbid* worse) has to happen before you drop her for an extended stay in our local country-provided mentalHealth ward ‘Sempervirens!’ (Those places aint a cake-walk, trust me ;/ ) although somtimes we just need outside help

  20. I don’t think that the T-S chose to exclude the mugshot. It’s just that the press release came in after 5 p.m., and you have to go through this rigamarole of requesting it from the HCSO, and it took till this morning to get it, blowing the T-S’s deadline. They have the daily meat-drinder to satisfy.

  21. WRogers

    Do not tolerate obstruction on sidewalks in Arcata-the bums seem to know this-they move out of the way real quick-like…

  22. macadoshius

    The news on channel 3 said barnes was the childs mother..i sure hope thats a error..that crazio shoudnt breed..this has got people pretty pissed off..bums having ANYTHING to do with our kids is pushin the envelope..the whole Arcata bum thang is just beyond outta hand

  23. Stan Vanella

    I am SO tired of this crap. Yesterday I was seriously hassled by that punk “Guitar Dan” in Northtown and was so close to punching the guy in the face. The woman who injured the baby has been around town talking shit, threatening people, and looking creepy for a while now. Time for the citizens of Arcata to make a move on these fools.

  24. What does that mean, “make a move?”

  25. Did Channel 3 really say that? No, it is not true at all. Barnes is NOT the child’s mother.

  26. Erin Freeman

    I am sick and tired over all the wasted bums in Arcata, they’re all tweeker heads and pedophiles. The City needs to have a new law and it’ll have a no tolerance, totally illegal camping and drugs.

  27. ART CATA

    the picture on the upper right is not the same person as the dreadlock one, she has been repaced by a replicant out to kill!

  28. art cata


  29. art cata

    you take my comments off i going to come to arcata and see you!

  30. art cata

    your promoting aggressive behaviour against homeless people and you will pay the right wing reagan trash!

  31. wibbler

    martial law…that’s it. You just don’t go and walk over peoples constitutional rights….as it has been done before in friendly Arcata.

  32. Dave

    “ARC CATA” go see a shrink you brainless wonder, sheesh Arcata has become a Mental Institution over the past 15 years.

  33. You’re right. It’s horrible here. If I was you I’d stay away.

  34. the Greasy Species are still haunting Arcata damm i though they would be gone by now guess not..

  35. Eye Spy

    Arcata calls it “Hippie HOs” and they’re in all the bars every weekend and Eureka during the week in Mold Town.

  36. Eye Spy

    Oops wrote thread

  37. "Henchman Of Justice"

    Good to know that baby-kickers get arrested….gotta love the video cameras……good people don’t fear cameras! Now, how many husbands get to subdue their wives for kicking their kids??? And on the flip, how many wives get to subdue their husbands for kicking their kids???

    Or, is it only illegal to kick a child when caught in public?


  38. Mark Sailors

    The mother WAS NOT the child kicker.
    The child kicker was a random menatly ill transient that did not know the child nor the parents.

  39. Mark Sailors

    Mentally not menatly

  40. Mike

    The crazey women would most trade sex evry night for a place to crash in Arcata it only lasts a few nigts then sht start disappering ya kno my xanax and buds were gone like 7 times with diferant women I see them now and then

  41. Lillian

    Oh wow. She asked for some of my french fries last january.

  42. Did you give her any?

  43. Lillian

    I did, indeed.


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