‘Rambling, incoherent’ burglar suspect at large

Sonoma County sheriff’s deputies have been searching since this morning for a man suspected of burglary and making threats at his family in a rural area bordering Napa County, a spokeswoman said.

The man has been identified as 49-year-old Ned Kohler, sheriff’s officials said.

Around 8 a.m., deputies responded to a reported burglary on Franz Valley School Road in Knights Valley, Sonoma County sheriff’s Sgt. Cecile Focha said.

A woman had called the sheriff’s dispatch center and said a man broke a window near a door at her home and entered, Focha said.

The man was “rambling incoherent threats,” which made the woman scared and she fled the home, according to Focha.

The woman then went to a neighbor’s residence and called for help, the sergeant said.

She also reported that her bedridden husband was still in the home and she left behind food cooking on a stove, Focha said.

As of this afternoon, the husband was found in the home without injury and reunited with his wife, according to Focha.

Investigators suspect Kohler, a Knights Valley resident, committed the burglary, she said.

Deputies received multiple calls from Kohler’s family members, who said Kohler called them on Saturday and made death threats to them, according to Focha.

Family members also reported that he was walking at a property off of state Highway 128, about a mile away from the reported burglary, without clothes or shoes and talking nonsensically, Focha said.

The reports also stated Kohler has been making multiple threats, is frequently armed and possesses multiple firearms, the spokeswoman said.

Deputies have set up a perimeter along Franz Valley School Road on a vast, rugged property and are working to communicate with Kohler, she said.

A plume of smoke was seen at one of the buildings on the property but was not coming from the home where the suspected burglary occurred, Focha said.

Hostage negotiators, a SWAT team, firefighters and paramedics were also called to the scene, according to Focha.

Calistoga police in Napa County have also coordinated operations in their jurisdiction, Focha said.

Sonoma County sheriff’s helicopter Henry-1 was at first unable to fly because of a cloud ceiling, but is staged in the area as of this afternoon, she said.