Fact check: No meth found in home during search for chief’s gun

August 7, 2019

Cheyne Orndoff’s graduation from Cal Poly

Clarification: SLO Police officers found a pipe at Cheyne Orndoff and Vanessa Bedroni’s home they listed as a meth pipe in their report. However, the pipe, which is sold for cannabis use, was not procured as evidence.


San Luis Obispo Police officers did not find methamphetamine in the home of a man misidentified as the person who found the police chief’s loaded gun on a toilet paper roll dispenser on July 10 in a restaurant bathroom, as reported by the Tribune.

Two days after the unwarranted raid, government employees collected and ran urine samples on family members. One of the samples tested positive for amphetamine, a finding possibly because of the use of cold or allergy medication.

Prosecutors responded to the test results with a motion to amend charges to include felony counts of child abuse and a request to incarcerate the parents, Cheyne Orndoff and Vanessa Bedroni, in lieu of $20,000 bail.

At a hearing on Aug. 6, Judge Tim Covello granted the motion to include felony charges but denied Deputy District Attorney Phillip Joo’s request to incarcerate Orndoff and Bedroni.

Peter Depew, Bedroni’s attorney, then asked Joo to allow further testing of the urine sample at a private lab. While Joo declined the request, it is likely the defense will ask the court to order the retesting.

The defense attorneys then asked the judge to allow Orndoff and Bedroni to attend their daughter’s Aug. 17 birthday party. Joo argued against the visitation request referencing needles and amphetamine, without explaining the context.

While Covello ruled Orndoff and Bedroni can have no contact with their children at this time, he set a hearing for Aug. 15 to revisit the visitation request.

After the judge denied Bedroni phone contact with her children, she began to shake and tears rolled down her cheeks.

Following the hearing, Tribune reporter Nick Wilson wrote an article titled, “Couple arrested during search for police chief’s gun had drugs in home, prosecutor says.” In his article, Wilson writes that “the prosecutor mentioned evidence of needles and methamphetamine found in their home.”

While Joo mentioned amphetamine, he did not discuss methamphetamine, nor did he say either compound was found in the home.

During the search of the home, officers found a red box containing hypodermic needles inside Orndoff and Bedroni’s bedroom. Because of a medical condition, Orndoff has a prescription for hormones which requires the use of hypodermic needles.

At about noon on July 10, Cantrell left her pistol in the bathroom of an El Pollo Loco restaurant. A short time later, a man walked into the bathroom, discovered the loaded and unattended firearm and took it with him.

An officer misidentified Orndoff as the suspect, which led the chief to send officers to Orndoff’s home to retrieve her gun. Another public employee misidentified Orndoff as being on probation, which led officers to conduct an unwarranted search of the couple’s home.

Even though officers did not find the chief’s gun, they put Orndoff and Bedroni’s 7 and 9-year-old daughters in foster care, their 5-year-old dog Princess in the pound, and the couple in jail for child neglect because of a dirty house.

In the aftermath of the chief leaving her gun in an El Pollo Loco restroom and the unwarranted raid on Orndoff’s home, several media outlets have posted news stories that lack context, are not in line with the facts, or appear to repeat city and county press releases.

For example, the Tribune has reported Orndoff and Bedroni’s arrests were unrelated to the chief’s misplaced gun, that Orndoff was on probation, that the chief had good reason to search Orndoff and Bedroni’s home without a warrant, and that methamphetamine was found in the home.

Orndoff and Bedroni pleaded not guilty to all charges. In an attempt to raise money for their defense and for work needed at their home, Cheyne Orndoff recently posted a plea for assistance on GoFundMe.


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Both Cantrell and Dow need to go. This is beyond reprehensible.


This gets worse all the time…These peoples’ lives are ruined. Their kids are traumatized and will forever be in fear of the police (as perhaps we all should be!). This man will never be able to get a job, as what employer would actually look into this mess and realize he is a victim? Far easier just to say No, found someone else. This should be on national news.


What is happening to this family is reprehensible. While they may not be perfect, who is? If anyone with a messy house is fair game for this type of treatment Dow is going to be one busy guy.

Any settlement this family agrees to MUST include funds for the counseling these children will need. I wonder how the chief and her accomplices can sleep at night.


A few personal observations….

If Skeeter Mangan had called 911 and reported he had found the Chiefs lost gun, as suggested by many, then given the now apparent abhorrent behavior by the SLOPD it would not be out of the question that he would have been SHOT!

At the hearing on August 6 why didn’t the lawyers for the defense make a motion to dismiss based on this was clearly an illegal search?

I agree with JordanJ that the prosecution basically decided to suppress evidence by declining to restest the urine sample based on testimony that an over the counter drug may have skewed the test.

KSBY reported (has since been corrected) that a MORRO BAY Couple Arrested During Search…. Appears In Court. Evidently KSBY does not know that O’Connor way is not in Morro Bay.

And quite evidently KSBY gets their news from other than their own sources and just copies and pastes.

The SLOPD in my opinion acted in an extremely unlawful manner possibly destroying the lives of the parents and their children who absolutely had NOTHING to do with the lost gun.

Fortunately the SLOPD is not the judge, jury and executioner.

But UNFORTUNATELY the SLO DA has obviously committed to prosecuting these innocent people to the fullest extent of the law for reasons that continue to confound me.

Imagine someone gives the SLOPD a ‘tip’ that you have committed a crime (and you don’t even live in the city of SLO) and they come to your home hell bent for justice and it turns out there is a computer glitch of a warrant because your last name is Johnson or Smith. They do the same thing to you that did to the innocent couple. And the SLO CIty DA Dietrich cites some cockamamie case law that it’s OK to violate your 4th Amendment Rights because incorrect computer info takes legal precedence. Not scared enough…. they take you to jail, charge you with a felony, take your kids and pets and use the power of government to put you away for good.

This entire fiasco could have been prevented to have escalated to this point if SLO DA Dan Dow and Army National Guard Officer could have seen the trees and not the forest.


He may be contacted:

by mail: 1035 Palm, San Luis Obispo, CA 93408

by email: ddow@co.slo.ca.us

by phone: 805-781-5800

another phone: a number listed on his Facebook Page, Dan Dow District Attorney



I am curious as to how the discussion will unfold.

Will this lead to a political discussion about the chief and the over zealous tactics to protect her in this instance. An example of political and bureaucratic malpractice at its core.


Will this be an eye opener for most here, in which the discussion focuses on how this is an all to common occurrence in most police and sheriff departments; “misidentification”. Perhaps lead one to question the “lock em up police state” that is often applauded on this site. Realizing police and CPS are often wrong.

But like most things in this world circumstances are not black and white. This story is a mixture of both.


Isn’t the district attorney supposed to work for the public, promote justice. What possible reason to object to a more intensive check of the urine sample, aside that it may show it was from an over the counter drug. This is the same DA’s office that said a police officer’s semen found in the garage of a woman who said he raped her was not good enough, it was a he said she said.


I don’t know if these folks are guilty of the crimes alleged, but I do know that it is unusual for the district attorney’s office, who specializes in finding reasons not to file charges, to suddenly put on a full court press in this instance.

The Tribune ought to ask for a consulting fee from the city since they have become their “mouthpiece”.

I hope that Judge Covello can get to the bottom of this case and if they are being railroaded see to it that the right thing is done.


How sad our once-credible now-dying newspaper has become so thick-skulled they don’t check facts before printing stuff that can ruin lives. They probably presume this could never happen to them. It would be interesting to know if these errors are all Wilson’s, or if an editor’s rewriting did it.


Ruin the lives of innocent citizens with no evidence: check.

Cover up for petty, incompetent, narrow-minded bureaucrats (police chief): check.

Next step is to arrange early retirement with a huge salary spike before departure, to increase lifetime pension benefit for said bureaucrat.

Orwell’s 1984 was supposed to be a warning, not a how-to manual, Mayor Harmon!


Harmon’s a “progressive,” but it’s getting hard to see her differences from a fascist. Recall how angry she was that anyone would dare to criticize Cantrell for the gun giveaway.