A criminal complaint filed by the Mendocino County District Attorney has formally charged 23-year-old Covelo man, Christopher James Bettega, with the September 4, 2021 murder of his cousin, William Daniel Bettega.
Christopher Bettega faces a special allegation regarding the use of a vehicle to commit the murder.
A press release from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office provides the most insight into the events leading up to the crime. Reportedly, in the early morning of September 4, there were multiple reports of an assault and kidnapping that had occurred in the Covelo area. Initially, Christopher and William were reported to be the victims of the crimes. As deputies responded to that call, a “separate call for service regarding a located deceased person was dispatched.”
Deputies found William Bettega deceased lying in the roadway near the intersection of Crawford and Henderson Road. First responders quickly determined that William Bettega’s death was caused by being struck by a vehicle.
Based on these findings, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and California Highway Patrol investigators began to comb the area for clues. A patrol deputy discovered a vehicle in the Short Creek Drainage east of Biggar Lane on which evidence was located on the exterior that indicated a collision had occurred involving a pedestrian. Allegedly, Christopher Bettega was determined to be the primary driver of that vehicle.
After extensive interviews and investigations, a warrant was served on September 8, 2021 at a residence near Biggar Lane and Mendocino Pass Road concluding with the arrest of Christopher Bettega for murder after which he was booked in the Mendocino County Jail where he remains to this day.
There is no indication, as per MCSO, that there is any veracity to the initial reports of a kidnapping. That being said, the investigation “is still active” and MCSO requested that anyone with information regarding the activities of Christopher and William Bettega on the night of September 3, 2021, and subsequent early morning hours reach out. Additionally, MCSO is seeking any surveillance footage that depicts a “lifted white Chevy Silverado traveling on downtown Covelo roads between the hours of 12:00 AM (midnight) and 1:30 AM on 09-04-2021”
Please note: a portion of this article has been removed regarding the arrest of a family of Bettega’s after their request.