Former Mineral County Sheriff Stewart Handte who took part in an alleged 2019 kidnapping case was recently arrested near Carlin, Nevada, on January 20 for not showing up to be fitted for his ankle monitor. Two weeks ago, a Washoe County judge ordered Handte to wear an ankle monitor after the district attorney’s office contended that Handte was displaying threatening behavior on social media, towards the FBI, and showing up at a former prosecutor’s office.
Handte’s legal trouble first began when he helped his friend Roger Hillygus remove his 80-year-old mother Susan Hillygus from the Stone Valley Alzheimer’s and Memory Care facility in Reno in August of 2019 (it is contested that they did not have the proper authority to take her). Roger reportedly took his mother to his uncle’s house in the Los Angeles area, where he was then arrested a week later. Susan was unharmed but died two months later. Subsequently, Roger was charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, second-degree kidnapping, and burglary while Handte was charged as an accomplice to the crime.
This case has garnered statewide attention considering Handte worked in law enforcement for thirty years. He served as an adult probation officer and chief of police for the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony as well as the chief of police for the Yomba Indian Reservation. He was a sheriff for the Mineral County Sheriff’s Office in 2014 and worked as a senior field supervisor for SOC LLC in Hawthorne in 2015-2016 before returning to law enforcement.
What prompted this case could be the complaint that Roger Hillygus filed with the US Federal Court alleging that Second Judicial District Court of Washoe County Judge Frances Doherty “has a long history of imposing abusive guardianships upon individuals and their family, even against the family’s protests.”
The complaint asserts that Doherty, who served on the board of directors for Washoe Legal Services, continues to conspire with current and past members/lawyers to keep elderly and vulnerable people locked up against the family’s wishes. In the Hillygus case, Roger believes that after Susan’s husband died in 2015, Judge Frances Doherty ordered that the home Susan lived in for 45 years be sold and she be sent to Stone Valley.
Roger’s complaint goes on to state that the judge used her associations within WLS to fill the courtroom up with 3-5 court-appointed lawyers “whose job it is to ensure that the frightened and anxious senior is kept locked away while the lawyers dismantle her estate which was worth close to one million dollars,” the complaint reads.
In a statement Handte filmed and released to the public on January 17, 2022, via YouTube, he said, “I’ve always been taught by my parents, my teachers, and my mentors to take a stand against those who are criminally corrupt,” and he believes that those he has exposed will destroy him at all costs.
Handte also admits that he was helping his friend Roger rescue his mother from Stone Valley where he believes she was being abused and neglected and attests that Roger had legal paperwork to take his mother out of the care facility. Handte ended his statement by telling the camera that he is in fear of his life for being persecuted for trying to save the life of a parent; and that he went through a comparable situation with his own late mother.
As of January 22, 2022, Handte was still being held at the Elko County Sheriff’s Department jail and his bail was set at $100,000.