Two found dead in a home on Pa Ha Lane

UPDATE:  Inyo Sheriff’s Officers have said that the death of a third man on the reservation, Buzzie Beaver, is not connected to the deaths of the two individuals on Pa Ha Lane.  Officers said Mr. Beaver’s death was a different day and different location

Sunday afternoon before one o’clock, a call came into the Inyo Sheriff’s Office.  Someone had discovered a man and a woman dead in their bed at a home on Pa Ha Lane in Bishop.

Inyo Sheriff Bill Lutze said that the male and female were in their late teens or early twenties.  He said there was no obvious sign of trauma – no gunshot wounds or other signs of violent death.

Sheriff Lutze said, “A young person tried to wake them up and couldn’t.”  The call to the Sheriff’s Office happened around 12:40 pm Sunday.  Officers and Investigators from the Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney’s Office responded to the scene.  The Sheriff’s ID team also went to work on the case.

The Sheriff said that the investigation will take some time.  Toxicology tests generally take more than a month.  Asked what the relationship was between the deceased man and woman, Sheriff Lutze said that was unknown.

At the scene Sunday afternoon, the California Highway Patrol had closed off Pa Ha Lane.  Crime scene tape surrounded the house where the couple was found.  Officers said it was family members and others who gathered outside on the street.

After I was granted permission to stand on the street opposite the crime scene, men in the crowd started to yell, “Get out of here!  Have some respect.”  A man who identified himself as Raymond Stone* got in my face, tried to intimidate me and then hit my camera with his hand.  I went to look for an officer and several men kept yelling.  I explained this was just my job. Sheriff’s deputies and CHP officers worked to calm the unruly men.

Finally a woman in tears came up to me and said she was the mother of the dead.  She asked if I could leave soon.  I assured her I would and expressed our regret at her loss.

The investigation continues.

* Raymond L. Stone, not to be confused with Raymond P. Stone.


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68 Responses to Two found dead in a home on Pa Ha Lane

  1. Inyo Native September 24, 2012 at 3:37 am #

    Isn’t a reporter supposed to avoid becoming a part of the story? It can be seen as biased and unprofessional. Instead of covering a tragedy involving the unexpected deaths of two young people, the story devolves into describing the anger displayed by a grieving tribal member. A man who reacted in a time of great emotional distress to the insensitivity displayed by an “outsider” with a camera. I don’t understand the point of including this information and naming the man. Not only that, but this story was tagged with the man’s name, which helps make it more searchable by those who no doubt must know about this “violent” native.

    • Benett Kessler September 24, 2012 at 7:02 am #

      The violent anger expressed by the crowd there was part of the story. It wasn’t the story
      that devolved into anger, it was the people there. News reporters have a job to do. Reporting is certainly not disrespect. The tragic deaths of two young people is news. I carefully stood back at the scene and used my zoom lens to get shots of the home where the deceased were found. The violent anger of a few men on the scene brought law enforcement into action. Mr. Stone hit my camera. Yes, this is part of the news.
      Benett Kessler

      • Bishop Resident September 24, 2012 at 7:14 am #

        Take a lesson from “Society of Professional Journalism” just some excerpts from their site.

        “Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.”

        “Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief.”

        “Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.”

        • Benett Kessler September 24, 2012 at 8:09 am #

          Good points, and I exercised all of the above.
          Benett Kessler

    • Justin Case September 24, 2012 at 7:39 am #

      You know at first I thought the same way. Then after really thinking it through, especially in this situation, it’s true sometime throprter becomes almost a part of whats happening. Not the story, but what happening. She was just as outside the home as all the other others were. We all came onto this site hoping to find the details of what happened, and we couldn’t do that with out her presence there on site. People who are close to the deceased see it as intrusive, but the truth is in some ways Bennet saves the family from having the family from having to relive and tell the story hundreds of times over by telling their story for them.

      • Justin Case September 24, 2012 at 7:42 am #

        Sorry about the spelling issues. It’s early and I am typing sans coffee and glasses

      • SierraFan September 24, 2012 at 3:01 pm #


        The reporter will only be a part of the story when someone calls attention to them as this man apparently did. I’m pretty sure Benett Kessler was doing what a reporter is supposed to do and in the manner in which it is called for. If any of the nay sayer’s here were in the same profession, you would more than likely do your job as she did. If not, you probably wouldn’t be in the profession as long.

  2. David Bradford September 24, 2012 at 8:30 am #

    My one encounter with Raymond Stone showed him to be an extremely friendly, generous and gentle man. I can only imagine what he must have been going through to provoke this reaction.

  3. 1234 September 24, 2012 at 8:31 am #

    I understand both sides of this argument. I can see how in the eyes of the victims’ loved ones, a reporter can seem intrusive. As an outsider hearing the rumors start to fly after the incident and not knowing what was going on in our town, the first place I looked was to our local news source. It was informative for the story to be there including quotes from a source in the Sheriff’s Dept. I can see how this might be helpful to the family to have some facts out rather than false rumors floating around.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends during this difficult time.

    • SierraFan September 24, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

      Well said 1234!!

  4. Raymond Stone September 24, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    That said, this is a sad sad incident, God bless the family of the individuals.

  5. Bishop Reader September 24, 2012 at 9:00 am #

    If you really felt your experience was the story, you should change the headline to “Grieving Family Angered by Intrusive Presence of Local Blogger.”

    • Benett Kessler September 24, 2012 at 10:21 am #

      My experience was not THE story. I was there to get the story – the tragic death of two young people. I respectfully stood on the side of the road and shot video of the crime scene. Some angry, out of control men chose to attack me. That, too, is news.
      Benett Kessler

      • JeanGenie September 24, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

        If there are no signs of foul play why are you calling it a crime scene?

      • Miles Terrasas September 24, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

        Some angry out of control men just lost there family. I’m sure you would feel the same way.

        • Benett Kessler September 24, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

          No, I wouldn’t. When I have lost members of my family, I did not attack news media who were interested.

  6. Jeremiah's Alter Ego September 24, 2012 at 9:06 am #

    Geez Benett Talk about insult to injury!
    Its obvious this individual was upset and for you to think it is pertinent to the story to add his name in only shows what kind of news you want to publish.
    I feel it was very unnecessary.
    Give us news not individual intrusion at a time of morning.

    • Benett Kessler September 24, 2012 at 10:19 am #

      This was more than intrusion – it was angry and violent, and, yes, this is news. The man willingly gave me his name.
      If the First Amendment caves at every intimidation, how long do you think it would last?
      Benett Kessler

  7. Mark September 24, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Does anyone believe its just coincidence two young people die in there sleep on the same night in the same bed?

    There’s more to this story.

    • sierragrl September 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

      It could be as simple as carbon monoxide poisoning….it doesn’t mean something sinister happened, just something tragic that doesn’t need to be ‘covered’ as news. I’m betting the reporter was covering it as a possible homicide and wouldn’t have responded otherwise.

      • Benett Kessler September 24, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

        You bet wrong. This was a report of two bodies in a home on Pa Ha Lane. Law enforcement treated it as a crime scene with investigators from the Sheriff’s Department and DA’s office.
        They won’t know the actual cause of death until many tests, an autopsy and all -much later.
        Benett Kessler

      • Mark September 25, 2012 at 10:51 am #

        I thought about carbon monoxide poisoning, but it hasn’t been cold. Anyone turn their furnace on yet?

        When two healthy young adults die in the same house, in the same bed, on the same night, something sinister happened. It’s absolutely should be covered as news.

        How far do you usually stick your head in the sand sierra grl?

        Heroin over dose?

        • sierragrl September 25, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

          sheesh Mark, is it sticking your head in the sand to say it COULD be something that isn’t sinister? Not saying it wasn’t something else…just that it could’ve been. FYi a furnace is not the only appliance that can malfunction and produce carbon monoxide

    • Wayne Deja September 24, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

      Mark….and with a case like this,a good chance we,the public,will never know or find out all that is behind this..The way a matter such as this is handled by authorities here,my guess is very little will come out…and even if it does,what could be believed,or just maybe something to report to quiet the public or close the case….good examples of that….Shaleen Duckey and Renee Fox back in 2006…and more recently,the discovery of the missing German families remains in Death Valley and the body search out at the Death Valley Barker Ranch a couple years ago.All 4 of those incidents still leave a lot to be answered to this day..

  8. skandar September 24, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    Lowering the camera and leaving the scene to calm down the anger might have been more diplomatic than journalistic correctness .

    • Benett Kessler September 24, 2012 at 11:04 am #

      Skandar, That is precisely what I did. Thanks for bringing it up.
      Benett Kessler

  9. skandar September 24, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    You taught me that, Benett, I assumed you had done it.

  10. Trouble September 24, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    I am truely sorry for the loss of life . I want to send my respects to all thier family and friends. Maybe we can all do something to help the people suffering today .

    • Big AL September 24, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

      Amen Trouble

  11. sad September 24, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    R.I.P. You two are missed so much already.

  12. Ex Bishop Local September 24, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    I went to school with the male involved in this incident. He was always a respectable person. I had plenty of pleasant experiences with.

    In regards to Inyo Native’s comment: I understand first hand how a news reporter can become troublesome when a time of crisis arrives. I also respect the fact that if you don’t like something it is in your given right to feel that way, but to express Mrs. Kessler as an “outsider” is a disrespect. We are all brethren under the same human rights as anyone else in this country. Yes i don’t agree with the crap reporters do sometimes, but it is their given right to. If i was doing something i enjoyed that was within my rights and someone told me i couldn’t because they didn’t like it i would be upset.

    Food for thought.

  13. Jett Chapman September 24, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    Journalists can be your best friend or worst enemy, depending on which side you stand. A true journalistic spirit will drive a reporter to do almost ANYTHING to get a story, and get the true facts of the story. In my opinion Bennett Kessler wasn’t trying to frame Raymond Stone as a “voilent” Native American. The journalist was simply conveying the scene, giving a feel to the public what really happened there that day at that moment. Honestly that kind of information is what keeps people reading. If it invoked your feelings whether it be feelings of dissapointment, anger, resentment, or shock, it still had you fixated and reading right? That’s what journalism is all about. Ethics are a tricky subject in Journalism but the best thing I have learned in my journalism career so far is to remain objective, don’t take sides, just tell the story how it played out, because people don’t give a shit about YOUR opinion, they care about the facts.

  14. loveydimps September 24, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    I think that you have to be apart of our community out on the rez and understand the emotional bond we all have with each other we don’t like getting disrespected! I miss and love these two soooo much and can’t believe they’re gone I pray for both families and i feel there pain the fact is y would the reporter be there in the first place? to invade the privacy of people who have passed ? maybe we should look back and put our selfs in the situation how would you feel when someones there taking footage and blasting everybody’s stuff all over the news

    • Benett Kessler September 24, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

      We are covering the news, not invading privacy or disrespecting anyone. Two people are dead. We will be following this tragic news with calls to
      law enforcement for the best truth we can find. Yes, I would accept and have accepted and have even covered tragic news of my own for public
      Benett Kessler

    • Gabriella September 24, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

      Whether this took place on the Rez or not, the Reporter would’ve been there. It’s her job. She’s not purposely invading the privacy of any specific neighborhoods. It’s got to do with the freedom of the press. Not many people like it, but as others wrote, it’s what keeps the community informed as a whole, to know what’s going on. It’s frightening when something like this happens in such a small town because it’s rare. It’s normal that people are raising concern.

  15. Dingo September 24, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

    Benett, I understand you have a job to do and I hope you can understand why Mr. Stone and the others reacted the way they did, right or wrong. I hope you have enough heart not to file charges against any of them or even ask them to replace your camera. I would think that their actions toward you go with the territory as being a reporter. Cameras can be replaced lives cannot.

    • Benett Kessler September 24, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

      I absolutely do not intend to file charges. I understand the hurt feelings. I also understand the First Amendment.

      • Dingo September 24, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

        Atta girl!

  16. Eastern Sierra Local September 24, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    I’m glad you reported this story. As tragic as it maybe as a news site/channel the community wants to know about these incidents……it’s news. Good work, Sierrawave!

  17. Sad for the familes September 24, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

    Your story does not answer any questions about what happened. It only tells the result which in turn causes more stories and rumors maybe you should have waited til you had some details if you really wanted to be informative. You are just like the all the rest of the insensitve reporters that walk up to a parent that has lost someone and asks them how they feel. It’s rude and insensitive. There may be a story to be told but obviously you don’t have any facts to report.

    • Benett Kessler September 24, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

      For God’s sake people, cut the thoughtless speculation and get a clue about the news media. Number one – we report what we know. Not to report that two people were found dead would be a dereliction of duty. No one was “rude and insensitive.” Talk about things you have knowledge about or keep quiet. I am done discussing this story. I would suggest for those who have issues that you study American history, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and its amendments. Otherwise, don’t bother me.
      Benett Kessler

      • starnews September 25, 2012 at 10:57 am #

        The news media can be helpful in not only reporting the facts, but can also aid as evidence. I was once a news reporter, and have had victim’s families request my news footage, which was later used as evidence. Working in the news media is a demanding profession that requires such devotion, as we sometimes risk going places where other’s cannot. We are the eyes and ears of the public, working at all hours of the night, on call. News is a part of everyone’s lives, it is the way we all keep informed. Being a news reporter has given me a better understanding, appreciation and respect for their profession. Hats off to you Benett!

      • Big AL September 25, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

        Hmm wonder what happened to my other post I posted here last night? must not have made the cut!

    • Big AL September 24, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

      I disagree Sad for the families … There was and still is no conclusion in the case, the facts in the case were presented as best could be at the time of the report.

    • Trouble September 25, 2012 at 3:57 am #

      If Benett had to wait to report all the facts, we would never have any. Our DA in Bishop refuses to release any public information to the public and press. The police hand over their reports to the DA and our DA bacisally says screw all of our rights to know, ever. This is probably the only city in the nation letting their public officails shut out the press and get away with it.
      Benett is only person in Inyo County trying to investagate and report the news . If she shouldn’t report two young kids found dead in this town. What should she report????

  18. friend September 24, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    I am certainly glad Sheriff Lutze got the news out and that bennet reported, I dont think she meant any harm. The sooner the air is cleared and the public is informed the better. the public does have concern for our neighbors, and families safety. Condolences to the family of both young people.

  19. Mark September 25, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    Can someone please explain what exactly an “outsider” is?

    Sounds like a RES thing. Or a gang thing.

    • HighSierra395 September 26, 2012 at 9:13 am #

      She is not a member of the family, she is not a member of the tribe, nor a member of the native community. She is an outsider. It’s as simple as that and it has nothing to do with gangs. I find it interesting, Mark, that during the course of your posts, you have mentioned both heroin and gangs, two things that were not mentioned in any of the news stories nor do they have any basis. Anyone who knew these two young people would be offended by these speculations. The bottom line is two young lives were lost to unknown causes at this point and the families and community are grieving this loss. While the investigation will hopefully discover the cause of death, nothing will bring back these two beautiful lives.

      • Mark September 26, 2012 at 11:42 am #

        Are your people ever going to assimilate into society? Or will you die off and become extinct like the dinosaurs? It sounds like the tribe is racist towards what you call outsiders.

        I find the comment offensive and racist.

        I hope the investigation discovers the cause of death. It’s very unusual to say the least.

        • loveydimps September 26, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

          and just cause they were on the REZ doesn’t automatically make them Heroin users theres just as much druggies in the white community as there is on the REZ so LOL at you

        • Big AL September 26, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

          I have to say Mark your comments about assimilating into society is high offensive to read in that context.

          I get the underlying thing, the bur under you blanket, but I don’t get what you found offensive and racist?

          Natives are people too .. they are entitled to their grief in a situation like this, and yes they might be offended by a reporter seeming to stick her nose in their lives in such a time .. I stated in another post that I can’t seem to find on here, that maybe she had a right to be there, she was doing her job.

          While I think some of her comments about the people who confronted her were wrong. I could not see that the person or persons that confronted her were wrong, they were just trying to handle the death of loved ones. It it was me .. I would not want someone filming it all ..

          I think that is a very good point for Benett. The offensiveness the family felt of her filming it .. or even taking picture, no matter what she would feel to film a tragedy in her own life involving family. she still has to know that others might be highly offended in such a time, not so much offense as it is like dang it … can’t we be left to bereave in this?

          It seems a bit of arrogance to me .. to think the news is entitled in a situation like this. And it can’t think to find a way to not be intrusive into the families grieving … like not film it, just do interviews and and take notes,. Just my thoughts on it.

          As for your offense of the word outsider, i don’t think it was meant in the way you took it. If you can see it as a grieving thing .. it makes more sense than some sort of profiling comment.

          I think the native people of the valley have done a pretty good job of being part of the community here, considering what they have faced, and continue to face to some extent.

          There are some in the native community that just seem to piss you off because they just seem to hate .. but then I know soooo many good people who are just people like me!

          Like I always say .. a few rotten ones seem to mess it all up for everyone. There are those non natives as well who piss you off too .. for their happy asses in how they treat people as well!

          So I think you can keep your assimilation remarks.

          • Benett Kessler September 27, 2012 at 9:08 am #

            In regard to this comment, I will quote you in your previous comment:

            “I think we can only speculate what happened unless you were right there to see it all.”

            In regard to any more comments on this story, I stand by the story. If you want to bring up
            something you think is inaccurate, go ahead.


          • Big AL September 27, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

            I hope you understand what I’m saying Benett, yes I wasn’t there, and yes it was speculation on my part, but in reading your words about it, I could pick up on the emotion you were feeling, in their attack, or how it was perceived as an attack, yes it might have been an attack, but consider the emotions behind it, that’s what I am saying, but also .. as I said … maybe it could have been reported with the invasiveness of the camera .. just saying. Not saying you shouldn’t have been there.

          • Big AL September 27, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

            *maybe it could have been reported .. without .. the camera. need sleep lol

          • Benett Kessler September 28, 2012 at 7:36 am #

            Not when you have television news.

          • Big AL September 29, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

            Even with Television news, you can report an article with commentary and no film.

      • Wayne Deja September 26, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

        Does that also mean Law Enforcement and investigators were “outsiders” when they were at the scene ?….like it or not,whether it’s on the reservation,or the middle of town,when two young people are found deceased in a home,and especially in a small town, it’s going to be news-worthy…and,unfortunatly,people are going to comment and speculate. Benett was doing nothing wrong,and not showing anytype of disrespect by being on the scene and reporting the incident.

        • HighSierra395 September 26, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

          There are really no words to describe how insensitve and offensive your comment is, especially considering the recent loss of life in our community. You asked someone to explain what was meant by ‘outsider’ and I did. It has nothing to do with race. I think you may be confused between individuals and Tribes. I am an individual, and whatever values you may perceive me to hold would be mine, I certainly do not speak for the entire Tribe and I wonder why you are so quick to define an entire population of people by one individual’s comment.

          In answer to your extremely offensive questions, NO, WE WILL NOT DIE OFF. The United States Government already tried that and to their dismay, we survived….and here WE SHALL REMAIN.

          Assimilation? Perhaps you should review a history lesson. Indigenous people of North America were FORCED to assimilate. I find it ironic that we were re-located to specific designated areas (reservations) and now we are faulted because we continue to live in those areas. These are our homelands, our communities, and our families, and just as with any other close-knit community, we stand together in times of adversity. We are moder people with a rich cultural heritage that we choose to protect and preserve and it has nother to do with race, it has to do with our unique political status as Sovereign Nations.

          I too hope the cause of death is discovered, however, like I said in my previous post, regardless of the cause, the loss is irreversable.

          • Trouble September 26, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

            Well said High Sierra 395, I hope everybody reads your first paragraph twice.

  20. Ex Bishop Local September 26, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

    When can we let this 400 year issue be at rest? Society today has nothing to do with what happened then. If i had the power i would make a deal to any indigenous person in America; that would be i would gladly gather up all “outsiders” , leave this “Sovereign Nation”, and take back every technological advance in the last 400 years produced and invented by non indigenous persons. I bet some natives have invented somethings as well, but only after using technology invented by someone other so that’s out of the question. Since that day won’t come i suggest we all shut the f up and act as one nation…AMERICA! We have religious fanatics praising Allah that are willing to strap a bomb to their chests and kill as many Americans that they can for a “greater” after life. While were squabbling over crap that happened centuries ago. Oh yeah….RIP CT

    • Big AL September 27, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

      Yes amen Ex local.

  21. Gina September 27, 2012 at 2:00 am #

    I have read all of the posts, and it really upsets me that everyone chooses to argue during a time of tragedy. Two young people have passed away. Benett was doing her job, nothing more, nothing less. I feel we are fortunate to have someone who is passionate about reporting the news. Benett brings a caring side, especially when it comes to dealing with tragedy and delicate matters of the heart. I have been privileged to work with her briefly on mini projects.

    As far as using a “race card” in talking about the double tragedy over the weekend, WHY do we need to classify people as a “race” and not as individuals? I have lost a child, I look at my child as a person, not as a “race”. My Heart goes out to the families who have lost their precious children/loved ones/friends/ etc.

    I have a group on Facebook called “Eastern Sierra Hearts of Hope”. It’s still in it’s infancy, but it’s available for support. I would love to see the group grow into something our community can be proud of.

    • Mark September 27, 2012 at 9:35 am #

      Why do some on the Res classify individuals as “outsiders”?

      Bishop is way to small to have such division.

      It’s rediculous how some are still playing the victim after 400 years.

      The outsider comment was as racist as it gets.

      And yes your people are dying off this article is proof of that. Those two young adults should have lived 3 or 4 times longer then they did.

      I’m deeply sorry for your loss, and still can’t imagine what would take two peoples lives while they sleep.

      I suggest sparing the racist community dividing accusations and I’ll spare everyone my remarks.

      • Big AL September 27, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

        Mark, I really do not think the original remark regarding outsiders was really meant to be racist, this was just a family thing, with a camera rolling on their grief, just put yourself in their place and wonder how you would feel to have someone filming your grief.

        As much as it really wasn’t about the camera, it was mostly just grief and grief likes to be private. Just my thoughts on it.

        • Big AL September 27, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

          I meant to say …it really was not meant to be a racist remark .. ughhh typo!

    • Big AL September 27, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

      Thank you Gina … one comment … started this .. sad, but it always seems to go that way no matter the tragedy.

  22. Gina September 29, 2012 at 1:25 am #

    You’re welcome Big Al. I think Benett was delicately trying to handle a difficult situation. In some ways, I wish more attention would have come to my aide when my son passed away. Sure, I agree, there is a time and place for everything, but, from what I have read about Benett’s reporting, I feel she was doing everything she could, to be respectful. Yes, I understand the heated time of grief, very well. I also understand, a community, who cares about their members. I think that is what Benett and her news team is trying to do. Some people may agree with me, maybe some people may not. That is O.K. That is part of my Freedom of Speech. I am not trying to hurt feelings. The Sierra Wave is “Our” news station, trying to bring fair and balanced news to “Our” community. I am sure Benett’s intention was to report and also to help the families in any way the news station could. I don’t know this for a fact, but it is my guess and MY opinion.

    Just my personal thoughts. I don’t know the families, but my thoughts go out to them.
    Losing a child is the WORST pain any parent can go through.


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