BEND, Ore. (KOIN) – The disappearance of Kaylee Sawyer is now a homicide investigation, and a person of interest has been arrested connection with her death and disappearance, officials confirmed on Tuesday morning.
Sawyer, 23, vanished in the early morning hours of Sunday in the area of Central Oregon Community College. Her family reported she was last seen just before 1 a.m. Sunday.
Police say 31-year-old Edwin Lara, a part-time Central Oregon Community College Campus Public Safety Officer, was arrested in Northern California on Tuesday morning in connection with Kaylee’s disappearance. They had previously said he may be armed and dangerous.
Police have not said what evidence they have to connect Lara to Sawyer’s disappearance.
“The investigation into the disappearance of Kaylee led officers to multiple addresses in the Redmond Oregon area. Information gathered by investigators during the day (Monday) has changed the type of investigation from a missing person to a homicide investigation,” said police.
Sawyer had her cellphone with her, but it may have been turned off, and her car was left at home. She was last seen wearing a black dress, brown boots and carrying a green purse.
Searching for Kaylee
Damon Talbot, who is the director of operations for the Destiny Search Project, said there will be a volunteer search effort on Tuesday morning at 7:30 a.m. Volunteers are told they need to meet at 21772 Repine Drive and must have a photo ID.
“The family asks that volunteers come prepared for the heat, walking, and possibility of being in fields and other terrain. Volunteers will need to bring valid identification,” Talbot said.
A vigil is also planned for July 26, at 8 p.m. at Discovery Park in Bend.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Detective Todd Guthrie at 541-322-2984.
Detectives with Redmond Police Department, Bend Police Department, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Sunriver Police Department, Black Butte Police Department, the Oregon State Police, the Oregon State Police Crime Lab and the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office are involved with the investigation.
Lara and a woman, Aundrea Maes, of Salem, were arrested after a crime spree in Yreka, California early Tuesday morning. Yreka Police said Lara and Maes were taken into custody after allegedly shooting someone in a motel, then stealing a car with 3 victims inside.
The 3 victims were dropped off unharmed and the suspects fled in their car. Police caught up with the suspects and arrested them north of Redding. The shooting victim was taken to the hospital and is unstable and critical condition.
Yreka Police are working with Bend police in this case.