Idaho man who sparked a New Year’s Day manhunt last year sentenced to prison

Joshua B. Christoffersen, 41, was recently sentenced to 33 months in prison. ( Malheur County Sheriff’s Office photo)

VALE – A former Idaho man who led police on a New Year’s Day manhunt in 2020 was sentenced to more than two years in prison last week in the Malheur County Circuit Court.

Joshua B. Christoffersen, 41, of Caldwell, will spend 33 months in an Oregon prison after he pleaded guilty to numerous felony charges that stem from incidents from December 2019.

Christoffersen pleaded guilty March 10 to first-degree aggravated theft, felon in possession of a firearm and second-degree burglary.

Police and court records show Christoffersen stole a pickup in Marsing, Idaho, on Dec. 30, 2019, and then bungled a burglary attempt the next day at a farm outside of Harper. He stole a Polaris Ranger and a John Deere tractor from a Harper farm but fled the area after a neighbor detected the late-night activity and fired a gunshot.

Christoffersen was arrested New Year’s Day after police discovered he was hiding in a remote EP Minerals mining operation 70 miles west of Vale.

Christoffersen appeared in Malheur County Circuit Court on Jan. 2, 2020, and then was released without bail on the condition he would report in daily to community corrections officers before his arraignment that was scheduled later in the month. The prosecutor handling the court case said the state didn’t oppose his release.

Dave Goldthorpe, Malheur County district attorney, later said the prosecutor didn’t have complete information at the time and that Christoffersen should have faced bail.

Christoffersen didn’t hang around Malheur County very long.

He checked in with community corrections for six days after he was freed and then vanished. A nationwide warrant was issued for his arrest.

Christoffersen next appeared in police records last fall when he was arrested for possession of methamphetamine in Coldspring, Texas.

The arrest kicked off a lengthy effort by the Malheur County District Attorney’s Office to extradite Christoffersen.

He returned to Oregon in January and was lodged in the Malheur County Jail.

In a letter penned by Christoffersen to the circuit court, the former Caldwell resident wrote that his battle with mental health and narcotic addiction played a crucial role in his crimes.

“My childhood trauma, mental health, PTSD, physical abuse and sexual abuse has been a big part in my self-medicating, which I have done my whole life. It has turned into meth with needle use,” Christoffersen wrote.

Christoffersen wrote he understood “that my sickness, addiction and lack of memory is in no way an excuse for the pain and expenses I caused.”

Christofferson closed the letter by asking the court to help him get the mental health assistance he needs while he is in prison.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected].

Previous coverage:

Manhunt leads to Idaho man suspected of burglary

Suspect who led authorities on manhunt released following arraignment

Texas returns man accused in 2019 rural crime spree to Vale


Take one action today to help the Enterprise grow and do more for the community through accurate, fair reporting.

SUBSCRIBE: A monthly digital subscription is $5 a month.

GIFT: Give someone you know a subscription.

ONE-TIME PAYMENT: Contribute, knowing your support goes towards more local journalism you can trust.