Mother of ‘The Sandlot’ actor slain in Northern California town

The Del Norte County sheriff’s office in Crescent City, Calif.

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A Northern California sheriff’s deputy was found dead Thursday and her boyfriend is suspected of killing her, the department she worked for said Friday.

Del Norte County deputy Deanna Esmaeel was discovered in her home on North Bank Road in Crescent City on Thursday after a coworker was sent to perform a welfare check. Wild Rivers Outpost reported coworkers became concerned when she failed to show up for work and wasn’t answering subsequent phone calls. 

Esmaeel was the mother of actor Marty York, best known for playing Alan “Yeah-Yeah” McClennan in the 1993 movie “The Sandlot.” Esmaeel also had her own career in Hollywood; her IMDb page shows she worked primarily as an animal trainer on sets for several decades. She recently made the change to law enforcement, joining the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office in 2021. “It’s time for me to take everything I have learned in my life and help other people,” Esmaeel said at the time.

According to a news release from the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office, investigators identified Daniel James Walter, 54, as Esmaeel’s boyfriend and the suspect in her killing. After a brief search for Walter, he was taken into custody on Friday in Curry County, Oregon. 


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“This is the hardest post I’ll ever have to write but I found out from the sheriff department last night that my mother was murdered by a man she was seeing,” York wrote on Instagram. “The emotions I have are horrible right now between rage, vengance, crying.”

Walter, who police say legally changed his name to Edward Patrick Davies in July, is now in custody in Del Norte County. Jail records show he is being held on $1 million bail and has been charged with one count of murder. “At this time we are unable to release further details as this is an ongoing homicide investigation,” the sheriff’s office said.

According to Del Norte County court records, Walter was charged in March with unauthorized entry into a dwelling. It’s not clear whose dwelling he is accused of unlawfully entering.


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“We are all deeply heartbroken with the loss of Deputy Esmaeel,” Del Norte County sheriff Garrett Scott said in a statement. “Our hearts and prayers go out to her family, friends, and co-workers.”


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