Stewart Handte Arrested for Kidnapping
Reno Police arrested one-time Storey County deputy, and former Mineral County Sheriff Stewart Handte on Thursday, August 15th on charges of assisting with an elderly woman’s kidnap. According to Reno Police, Stewart Handte assisted Roger Hillygus with kidnapping Sue Hillygus from a care facility in Reno on August 8th.
Roger Hillygus was arrested in Bellflower, California earlier today after a 7-hour standoff with a SWAT team. Reports out of Bellflower suggest Hillygus barricaded himself in a Bellflower apartment. The SWAT team moved in without incident when Roger fell asleep. Happily, Roger’s mother Sue Hillygus was uninjured in the incident.
It is unknown whether Handte showed official police identification as part of his effort to remove Sue Hillygus from the Reno care facility. Police reports indicate that Handte provided false information while assisting Roger Hillygus with removing his mother from the facility.
Storey County Connections
Stewart Handte has a long history in Nevada Law enforcement. He was a Nevada Highway Patrolman, a Storey County Deputy, a DUI class instructor, Mineral County Sheriff and most recently employed as Reno Sparks Tribal Police Chief. In 2015 the Nevada Department of Investigation checked into Handte’s sexual involvement with a woman who had a felony drug warrant. The Teller obtained the report earlier this year. The report contains evidence of Handte’s helping the woman elude arrest when he was Mineral County Sheriff. Ultimately (and oddly) the Churchill County District Attorney declined to prosecute the case.
In 2010, Stuart Handte was a Storey County Deputy. Although he worked on the Comstock, he lived in Reno where he was a caregiver for his elderly mother. One day Handte called in to miss a shift claiming his mother was sick. However, multiple sources reported Handte drinking on C Street with a group of friends later that day.
Then Sheriff Jim Miller called him on the carpet and ultimately fired him for this misstep. Handte filed suit seeking damages in Federal Court. He lost his case and, according to numerous sources, has held a grudge against Storey County Sheriff Gerald Antinoro since then.
Obsession Against Antinoro
Even though his employment with Storey County ended in 2010, Handte has maintained close ties to the County in an effort to unseat Antinoro. Handte was a vocal opponent of Sheriff Gerald Antinoro during the 2018 primary against Mike Cullen. A video of him surfaced screaming about how Anitnoro was a sexual predator and unfit to serve as Sheriff.
In family court documents obtained by The Teller, Handte played a prominent role in the actions of a custody battle between Antinoro’s wife and her former husband. In the court document, Handte and Storey County Commissioner Lance Gilman’s employee Kris Thompson and Gilman’s girlfriend Jennifer Milsap-Barnes used their influence to manipulate the father to disrupt an amicable conclusion of a family affair.
Handte has ground his ax on anyone who supported the embattled Sheriff. Virginia City Highlands residents Breck and the late Dave Greninger were targets of Handte’s wrath in 2014. As Mineral County Sheriff, he sent them a threatening letter surrounding their involvement with the Judy Black death. Ms. Greninger responded on the Highlands Email Discussion board with the following quip:
OMG… Yeah, he’s the one that wrote threatening letter to Dave & me during the Sheriff’s election back in ’14 I believe. I made out a complaint, tried to follow up on it, also got harassing phone calls from him, with threats.
Greninger is not alone. Handte sent The Teller no less than 90 threatening, harassing and nasty emails since we began publishing. Some of those emails concerning Antinoro’s ouster were circulated with former Storey County Commissioner Bum Hess, Current Storey County Commissioner Lance Gilman, Gilman’s employee Kris Thompson and Gilman’s girlfriend Jennifer Milsap-Barnes and others.
In his emails to The Teller (the latest one received last week), Handte’s tone is one of anger against Antinoro and The Teller’s presumed support of the Sheriff. They include vulgar language, personal threats, and taunts. Taken in whole, the emails reveal the mindset of a person obsessed with the destruction of Antinoro and anyone near him.
The Curious Case of Roger Hillygus
What caught us by surprise here at The Teller was the connection of Hillygus and Handte in the kidnapping case. The Teller received a package in early June from Roger Hillygus with a return address on the just over the Lyon County line in the Mark Twain area. The package contained two lawsuits filed with the Second District Court in Washoe County (see the documents at the end of this article).
The Court documents explain Hillygus’ claim that his mother is being held against his wishes. In subsequent conversations with Hillygus, he made the case for his mother’s predicament. Hillygus’ description of his mother’s situation made it seem as if she was kidnapped and systematically looted by a cabal Judges, Lawyers, Guardians, and caregivers.
He directed us to websites, provided us with supporting information and connected us with online resources for people who find themselves in a similar situation. Hillygus claimed to have recently traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with lawmakers in an effort to bring more attention to this issue.
According to Hillygus, soon after his mother gained control of the family estate, Washoe County Judge Frances Doherty, Lawyer Todd Torvenien, elder law, and estate planner Ryan Earl conspired with Hillygus’ sister to keep Roger from participating in his mother’s life. He further claimed the group was using the color of authority to order the lawyers and guardians to perform tasks that would result in the looting of the family estate.
Alert The Media
We talked to Hillygus about ten days ago. Hillygus explained he received a “jury’s ruling” allowing him to take control of his mother legally. He asked us if we would be willing to attend, along with other news outlets, his mother’s release. I told him to keep us posted.
We didn’t hear from him again. Then the news broke of the Handte/Hillygus alleged kidnapping. We hope Sue Hillygus will return to Nevada to receive the care she needs. Her safety is the most important aspect of this case.
The Teller will follow the Handte and Hillygus proceedings and report on them as they unfold.
This article has been updated. The previous version named Stewart Handte as the Washoe Tribal Police Chief. He was terminated from his position as Reno Sparks Tribal Police Chief in July.
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