Daniel Thomas, 38, of Mariposa, died yesterday afternoon after being transported to the hospital for unknown reasons. The cause of his death is not known, and the Sheriff’s Office says Thomas was not in custody at the time he was transported.
The Sheriff’s Office released information on July 22, stating that Thomas — along with Thomas Allen, 36, also of Mariposa — were arrested for “trespassing upon closed lands PC 602(p).”
The S.O. confirms that neither man was found to be in possession of stolen property, nor were they going to be charged for any type of theft. They were cited for their actions.
But Daniel Thomas’s girlfriend Stephanie Scholl says that the vicious backlash and nasty comments on social media after news of the arrest have been devastating, even causing Thomas to be banned from some local businesses.
“He was a good man,” says Stephanie, who is devastated by Thomas’s death and is not able to learn why he died because she is not the next of kin. “He owns his property, owns all his vehicles, and doesn’t steal. He was just trying to protect his property.”
Scholl and Thomas made the decision not to leave when the evacuation orders came down, she says, and on the day Thomas was arrested, the town of Mariposa had already been repopulated — but not their neighborhood on Highway 140. Scholl says Thomas was on a supply run into town at the time of his arrest.
The Sheriff’s Office confirms that people can choose not to evacuate (except minor children), however, those who stay are told that they cannot leave their own property.
“Once it’s a controlled area under evacuation, you can’t wander around,” says Mariposa County Sheriff’s Information Officer Kristie Mitchell.
“If you evacuate and your neighbor does not, and he’s a thief, he could just walk right over to your property and take your stuff. We utilize Mutual Aid to increase security patrols. People are warned multiple times.”
Scholl says she just wants people to know that Thomas was not a bad person, and says that people who denigrate others on social media should consider their actions.
“People who don’t even know him are saying horrible, hurtful things,” she says. “Daniel has had struggles in the past, but he was a good person who worked hard for everything he had.”