Suspect charged with murdering Yreka man

, Written by Roma Villavicencio, Posted: Wed, January 29 2014 at 10:08 PM, Updated: Wed, January 29 2014 at 11:09 PM

Yreka, Calif.-- A former Yreka High School student is charged with murder. Yreka police said 26-year-old Elias Samuel Bullington killed Henry Cooper Jr., a transient. 

Friends who know Bullington said they can't believe he's now being charged with first degree murder. 

Jessica Nyholt said, "It gave me the chills because like I said I've known him for a long time. I've been around him a lot so knowing that he could be involved in this kind of freaks me out a little bit."

Last July three people were walking near the north end of the Yreka Creek when police say they found Cooper's body. They said Cooper's was the second body they found near the creek.

In November 2012 they also found 44-year-old Christopher Schafer dead in the same area. But they said Bullington is not being questioned for that murder.

Lieutenant Dave Gamache said, "To tie those two together at the time other then the location where the bodies were found were in fairly close proximity but nothing to tie Bullington to that other case."

Police also said Bullington  was already in jail for other charges but tips led police to charge him for Cooper's murder.

"Sufficient evidence and witness statements made it to where we were able to file additional charges against him through the DA's office," said Gamache.

Some friends who went to Yreka High School with Bullington didn't want to reveal their identity but said they're not so shocked.

Nyholt said she's just taking it all in.

"I guess he could have done it and if he did, I hope he gets what he deserves."

Police are still investigating the death of Christopher Schafer. A third body was found along the same creek, also last July but police say that person died of natural causes.

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About the Author

Roma Villavicencio

NBC5 News reporter Roma Villavicencio comes from Southern California where she reported for Garden Grove TV Channel 3.

She is a graduate of the journalism/communications program at Cal State Fullerton.

Roma is very proud of her Mexican heritage. She is bi-lingual and looks forward to serving our Hispanic community.

She loves food, music and the San Francisco Giants. She lives by the slogan “viva la vida!”

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