Fatal hit-and-run crash near North Fork becomes homicide investigation, deputies arrest 2 in connection


Danielle Cook, 35, and Christopher Robesky, 49, both from North Fork (Madera County Dept of Corrections)

NORTH FORK, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — A fatal hit-and-run crash involving a pedestrian near North Fork became a homicide investigation, resulting in the arrest of two people and the discovery of a partially submerged vehicle in a Madera County reservoir, according to the Madera County Sheriff’s Office.

A witness called 911 at 3:10 a.m. on Thursday to report a man lying in the roadway on Road 224 near Grandma’s Place. The California Highway Patrol initially responded to investigate a hit-and-run crash.

The man in the road, identified as Travis Balthazar, 31, of O’Neals, was declared at the scene, the Sheriff’s Office said. When evidence of an intentional act was found, the scene was turned over to deputies for a homicide investigation.

A white 1989 Acura sedan was found later Thursday morning in Kerckhoff Reservoir — partially submerged.

Sheriff’s detectives arrested Danielle Cook, 35, and Christopher Robesky, 49, both from North Fork, in connection to Balthazar’s death, the Sheriff’s Office said. Both were booked into the Madera County Jail at 1:30 a.m. Friday on charges of murder, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and possession of ammunition by a prohibited person.

Both are held on $1 million bail each and remain in jail custody.

The investigation into the homicide is ongoing.

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April 29 2021 12:00 am

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