Former North Fork tribal council member found dead on porch, neighbor arrested

Mary O’Keefe
Mary O’Keefe Madera County Sheriff’s Office

A former North Fork Rancheria Mono Tribal Council member is dead after allegedly being killed by her neighbor in North Fork, the Madera County Sheriff’s Office said.

Bonnie Hale, 76, was found by her son, Bobby Hale Jr., on Saturday morning on the porch of her Road 225 home, about a half-mile south of the old timber mill site in the North Fork area. Hale had injuries indicating she had been in a fight, the sheriff’s office said.

At the same time, deputies were called out to check on Mary O’Keefe, 64, who lived nearby. O’Keefe also had injuries, the sheriff’s office said. Saturday evening she was booked into the Madera County Department of Corrections on suspicion of murder. O’Keefe’s booking photo shows her with multiple scratches on her face.

Family and friends say Bonnie Hale has had past disputes with O’Keefe.

Hale was elected to the tribal council in 2010, where she served as a secretary. She also served on the Central Valley Indian Health board of directors.

Madera County Supervisor Tom Wheeler said Hale was a model citizen and a well-respected woman who spent her life in North Fork and served on the tribal council. “Her smile will be missed by all of us,” he said.

North Fork Rancheria Public Affairs Director Charles Altekruse said out of respect for Hale and her family, they are withholding any statements about her death.

This is the fourth murder in eastern Madera County this year, with arrests made in three of the cases so far.

The investigation is continuing and an autopsy will be performed, the sheriff’s office said.

Ashleigh Panoo: 559-441-6010, @AshleighPan