SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Police in California pursued a man and a woman from Oregon on Interstate 5 at speeds of more than 100 mph (160.93 kph) Tuesday and arrested them for allegedly kidnapping a woman and her two sons and shooting and critically wounding a man in a separate incident. The arrested man was being sought by police in Oregon in a homicide there.
Edwin Lara and Aundrea Elizabeth Maes were booked into the Tehama County jail on charges including attempted murder, kidnapping, carjacking and burglary, the police department in the Northern California town of Yreka said in a statement. Yreka, a former gold mining town of about 7,500 people in Siskiyou County, is where the mayhem erupted near dawn on Tuesday. It started when a man was shot in the stomach at the Super 8 Motel. The man, who has not been identified, was hospitalized in critical and unstable condition.
Five minutes after police got the call about the shooting, a man called from a gas station, saying his car had been taken with his family still inside.
“The man had come out of the gas station to see his dog running around and his car gone,” Yreka Police Chief Brian Bowles told The Associated Press. He said Lara allegedly forced, at gunpoint, one of the man’s sons to drive. The mother and two sons were later dropped off at a rest stop along the interstate about 30 miles south of Yreka, near the town of Weed.
Law enforcement officers were pinging three cell phones to get the location of the stolen car, Bowles said.
A highway patrol officer in Red Bluff, 100 miles south of Weed, saw a car speeding on the interstate and tried to pull it over. When it didn’t comply, she gave chase, the highway patrol said in a statement. Police from the nearby town of Corning joined in before Lara pulled over and was arrested. Yreka police said Maes is 19 and from Salem, Oregon.
“We have got crime scenes at a motel, a gas station and in Red Bluff more than 100 miles away,” Bowles said. “We’re a small department and stretched beyond our resources right now.”
On Monday, police in Bend, Oregon, a town in the shadow of the Cascade Range, had said they were looking for Lara as a “person of interest” in the disappearance of Kaylee Sawyer, 23, of Bend. She was last seen around 1 a.m. Sunday near her apartment, located near Central Oregon Community College where Lara worked as a security guard. Just before midnight Monday, Bend police said they were changing their investigation from a missing person to a homicide and described Lara, from Redmond, a town just north of Bend, as likely armed and dangerous.
Lt. Clint Burleigh of the Bend Police Department said Sawyer’s body has not been found, and declined to say what information caused detectives to make it a homicide investigation.
“There is a lot of information coming out, quickly,” he told AP. “It is very fluid.”
Lara had worked as a part-time public safety officer at the community college since December 2014, said Ron Paradis, executive director of college relations.
“We’re cooperating with the police as best we can,” Paradis said, declining to comment further.