Ex-Cal Fire battalion chief ‘hid in vegetation’ during manhunt

A former Cal Fire battalion chief arrested in the stabbing death of his fiancee hid in vegetation in a Sacramento suburb during most of the two-week manhunt for him, officials said.

Orville Fleming was captured Friday in Elk Grove only a few miles from where his Cal Fire pickup was found abandoned earlier this month. He had ventured out of his hiding place to buy some food, said Det. Brian Meux of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.

Fleming’s fiancee, Sarah Douglas, was found stabbed to death May 1 at the couple’s south Sacramento County home. Fleming was considered a suspect early in the investigation.

Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones credited “good, old fashioned police work” in Fleming’s capture, according to Fox40. Fleming was seen boarding a bus in Elk Grove on Friday morning and was arrested when he got off.


Meux said Fleming had been living in heavy brush along a small canal. When Fleming was arrested, his mustache was shaved off. Detectives said he did not appear to have a weapon, News10 reported.

He had also managed to buy a change of clothes during his time in hiding, officials said.

“He did the fleeing equivalent of curling up in the fetal position and just hunkering down,” Jones said.

Fleming told detectives that he hadn’t eaten for days. He appeared to be without any clear plan, Jones said.