Bend, Ore. — (KGW) A Redmond man has been charged with murder in the case of a missing 23-year-old Bend woman.
The alleged murder was part of a crime spree that stretched into California.
The Bend chief of police on Tuesday said investigators were processing the scene of a female body “that generally matched” the description of Kaylee Sawyer, but he did not confirm that her body had been found. A medical examiner is working to identify the body.
Sawyer was reported missing just after 7 p.m. Sunday. Her family said she was last seen 18 hours earlier at her apartment, near Central Oregon Community College. Her car was still in the parking lot, and her family said she had her phone but it was apparently turned off.
According to witnesses, Sawyer went out with friends for a bachelorette party Saturday night. She was picked up by her boyfriend, who drove them to their apartment.
Her boyfriend told police that they got into an argument during the drive. Once parked at the apartment complex, he went up to their second-story apartment and told her to come up “when she was ready.” He said he went back down to the car after 10 minutes and Sawyer was no longer there. The two exchanged calls and texts until Sawyer texted “Good bye” and turned her phone off at around 1 a.m. Sunday. Sawyer’s boyfriend said he drove around looking for her but couldn’t find her.
Bend police on Monday night said the case had become a homicide investigation and they were looking for Edwin Lara as a person of interest. Police announced Tuesday afternoon that Lara was charged with murder for allegedly killing Sawyer.
“I charged Mr. Lara with murder because I believe the evidence supports the charge of murder,” said Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel. “We’ve alleged in our information that he intentionally killed Kaylee and that’s what the evidence shows.”
Lara, 31, works at Central Oregon Community College as a part-time campus public safety officer. He lives in Redmond.
Lara’s wife, who is a newly hired Bend police officer, told Redmond police that he was acting “out of the ordinary” on Sunday. She said Lara told her on Monday that he had run someone over while at work and the person was Kaylee Sawyer. She said he told her that he panicked and disposed of the body but wouldn’t tell her where he left it. He also said that Sawyer’s belongings were inside a shed at their home. Lara’s wife said she found a bag with a purse and shoes in it.
She told police that Lara has family in Los Angeles and that he may be on his way there.
Police began a widespread search for Lara, who was believed to be armed and dangerous. Just after 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, police announced Lara had been taken into custody, along with a woman, in Northern California.
© 2023 KOBI-TV NBC5. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.