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October 31, 2013

Deputies arrest armed woman after two-hour standoff at Plainsburg farm's Halloween attraction

A Halloween attraction near Plainsburg was evacuated for several hours Thursday as Merced County’s SWAT team surrounded a cornfield on Planada Road and arrested a woman with a gun, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

A Halloween attraction near Plainsburg was evacuated for several hours Thursday as Merced County’s SWAT team surrounded a cornfield on Planada Road and arrested a woman with a gun, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

Dozens of people were forced out of a portion of the Frightmare Farms’ Halloween exhibit near the small farming community in southern Merced County while sheriff’s deputies tried to capture the 52-year-old woman, who is said to have a history of mental illness and substance abuse, Deputy Delray Shelton reported.

The incident ended about 6 p.m. after deputies deployed a mobile robotic camera to locate the woman in the cornfield. SWAT team members entered, found her asleep, and she was taken into custody without further incident, Shelton said.

No one was injured, Shelton said.

Shelton said the woman “will be treated for her illness,” which he said includes depression.

Shelton said deputies responded about 4 p.m. to the cornfield on Gillette Avenue, where the woman was reported to be hiding, and found her with an undisclosed type of firearm. She was said to be under the influence of alcohol, Shelton said.

There were multiple reports of gunfire in the area, but the Sheriff’s Department could not confirm whether any shots were fired by the woman.

The incident happened less than one mile from the Frightmare Farms attraction. Its operators could not be reached Thursday night.

The site employs 125 people and draws people from throughout the region and beyond. On Saturday, it drew more than 3,000 visitors, officials reported. Thursday night was expected to draw a huge Halloween crowd.

The number of people forced out of Frightmare Farms on Thursday could not be confirmed. It was unclear how the incident affected its business on Halloween night.

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