Homicide

Target of 18-day manhunt killed in California's high desert likely used Pacific Crest Trail

A man suspected of killing a retired dentist, taking three men hostage and wounding two deputies was likely using the famed Pacific Crest Trail to elude searchers for 18 days.

Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said Monday that investigators believe 34-year-old Benjamin Peter Ashley was headed back to the trail when he was confronted by deputies Saturday behind a mini-mart in Inyokern.

Youngblood has said Ashley was hit by several shots after failing to obey orders to drop a handgun and may have turned the weapon on himself after being shot. An autopsy will determine his cause of death.

Ashley was found with more than 100 rounds of ammunition, three guns from the cabin of the retired dentist and another gun from a site where he had exchanged fire with the wounded deputies.