On a hazy summer morning on July 18th, 2011, multiple fire departments from across the Rogue Valley responded to a call of a house fire in Medford. By the end of the day, the response to a 4-alarm fire turned into an arson and homicide investigation. Five people died, four of them children.
It happened on West 10th Street near Orange Street at 9:30 a.m. Police pulled 6 people from the home and performed CPR on the front lawn before they were taken to area hospitals. Rogue Valley Medical Center’s ER said the most it could treat that morning was five critical patients, sending the sixth patient to Providence Hospital. The four victims at RVMC and one at Providence were all pronounced dead.
The victims were Tabasha Paige-Criado and her four children: Elijiah, Isaac, Andrew, and Aurora. An autopsy conducted later found that Tabasha died as a result of multiple stab wounds and the four children died of probable carbon monoxide poisoning from smoke inhalation. Additionally, 6-year-old Isaac, and 5-year-old Andrew also had stab wounds in their necks.
Jordan Criado survived the incident and lay unresponsive in a hospital for two weeks. While authorities waited to officially charge Jordan Criado, the Medford community gathered to mourn the devastating loss of his wife and four children. A memorial with flowers, notes and stuffed animals was formed in front of the house where the tragedy occurred. That memorial was moved to the steps of the house; the flowers wilted. In January 2012, the house was demolished. Workers tore down the home, leaving only a cement slab and a dumpster full of debris, the last remnants of one of the largest murder cases Medford has ever seen.
In the days following the tragedy, the Medford community rallied to show their support for Tabasha’s brother, Jesse Adams, as he and his wife came to Medford from Bakersfield, California, where Tabasha’s mother and some extended family live. A vigil was held for Tabasha and her children; her brother also visited the memorial at the house on 10th Street, before returning to Bakersfield where the funeral and memorial service were held.
Details also emerged about Jordan Criado’s past, most notably that he is a registered sex offender, who committed sex crimes against children under the age of 14 and spent time in a California prison. Despite that criminal record, and his being charged with his wife and children’s murders, Tabasha’s family members say they hold no grudges or questions about Criado’s past sexual offenses. Jesse Adams said in a press conference when he came to Medford: “As far as I’m concerned, he served his debt to society for that. It has no bearings on what happened now.”
Jordan Criado spent weeks in the hospital on a mechanical ventilator. He was finally released and arrested August 4th. A few days later, Criado was indicted by the grand jury on charges of aggravated murder, murder, manslaughter and arson. On August 12th, Criado’s attorney was granted a 30-day extension to gather more information and they were given another 90-day extension on September 23rd. On December 13th, a judge entered a “not guilty” plea on behalf of Jordan Criado, after Criado’s attorney said his client was “unable” to enter a plea for the five murders at that time.
Judge Mejia set a deadline of March 5th to set a trial date or to enter any notice of mental health defenses. The D.A.’s office says it doesn’t know if mental health issues will play a role. On February 24, 2012, Jordan Criado’s trial was rescheduled to June 2013. Criado faced 24 counts of aggravated murder, 4 counts of felony murder, 4 counts of first-degree manslaughter, and 4 counts of first-degree arson.
On March 19th, however, Jordan Criado changed his plea. Jordan Criado changed his plea from the non-guilty plea the judge entered on his behalf to guilty by way of an Alford plea, meaning he doesn’t admit to committing the crime, but admits the state can prove it in court.
On April 15th, Judge Lorenzo Mejia sentenced Criado to life in prison on five counts of aggravated murder, along with a charge of arson.