Brent Nelson, 59

Fresno County Sheriff’s deputies have arrested Brent Nelson, 59, of Coalinga. He has been booked into the Fresno County Jail on felony charges of kidnapping and physical abuse an elder. Nelson’s bail has been set at $475,000.

The victim in this case, a 71 year old woman, is currently in the hospital with broken ribs, a punctured lung and head injuries. It’s important to note that the victim is 5’6”, 130 lbs. and the suspect, Nelson, is 6’10”, 320 lbs. The victim and suspect were considered friends and have known each other about a year. Nelson, who lived nearby, would visit the victim’s house every once in a while to help her do chores.

On December 9th, Nelson called the victim and offered to take her out for ice cream. The two recently had an argument and Nelson told her he wanted to make things right between them. He drove her in her car to Coalinga, about 20 miles away. Once in town, Nelson told the victim he did not have any money to pay for the ice cream. The victim had left her purse at home and asked Nelson to drive back to her house so she could get some money. During the drive back, Nelson suddenly got upset, stopped the car and began to beat up the woman. He then continued to drive, but would make repeated stops to continue beating her more. Once at her house, he tied her hands and feet, brought her into the house, threw her on the bed and then left. The victim tried to call for help, but couldn’t reach the phone. Nelson came back into the house a short time later and untied her. He apologized and told her not to call the cops. Nelson stayed at the house all night and finally left in the morning.

The victim then called a friend and told her she hurt herself and needed help. The friend came to the house and after seeing the severity of her injuries, called an ambulance and she was taken to a hospital for medical treatment. The victim told her friend that she was injured by a stack of wood that had fallen on her.

On December 28th, the Sheriff’s Office took a report of this elder abuse case from the victim. She failed to make a report right away and was not forthcoming about how she was injured due to fear that Nelson may kill her if he found out she called law enforcement and told them the truth.

Detectives performed a background check on Nelson and learned that he may be in possession of numerous firearms. Due to the potential danger, a SWAT operation was put together to try and apprehend Nelson at his home.

On Wednesday, December 30th, the Sheriff’s Office SWAT team and other deputies went to a home along the 48000 block of Los Gatos Road in Coalinga to serve a search warrant. One of the challenges facing Sheriff’s Deputies is the rugged and rural nature of parts of our County. This location is in the Los Gatos Creek Rd. area, which is extremely remote and radio communication can be sporadic. Very careful planning is essential to conduct a successful operation in this area. As the operation got underway, Nelson became aware that law enforcement was on the property, so he exited the back of his house. With the assistance of the California Highway Patrol helicopter H40 and its thermal imaging system, Nelson was located crawling through thick brush on the property, trying to avoid being captured. The CHP air team guided deputies who were on the ground and they were able to locate and detain Nelson without incident. Nelson has a prior criminal record. He spent 13 years in San Quentin State Prison for kidnapping and assaulting a woman in a vehicle in the Eureka area. He was released from prison in 2013 and has lived in Fresno County for about a year.

This case is still under investigation. Anyone with additional information on Brent Nelson should call the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office dispatch center at (559) 600-3111 or Crime Stoppers at (559) 498-STOP (7687). You will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

Contact Information

Tony Botti
Public Information Officer
(559) 600-8137