PORTLAND, Ore. – An autopsy Wednesday was performed and the body of a man found late Tuesday afternoon near Corvallis has been identified as 19-year-old Cody Myers, who had been missing since last weekend, according to Oregon State Police.
Police said during an evening news conference in Salem that Myers died of homicidal violence, but they did not release any more details.
Myers' family was at the news conference and was obviously distraught. They said they are deeply saddened by his "senseless murder."
"He didn't deserve this," said Myers' mother, Susan. "Cody was devoted to his family. He would have done anything for anybody, to help anybody."
Myers failed to return from a trip to a jazz music festival in Newport last Saturday.
His body was found off Highway 34 about 10 miles from Philomath near Alsea in the Mary’s Peak area of Benton County. Lt. Gregg Hastings, spokesman for OSP, said the remains were found by a citizen.
On Wednesday, two suspects wanted for a murder in Everett, Wash. and in connection with the disappearance of Myers were arrested in California when a police officer spotted them driving down the highway.
Police in Oregon and Washington had sent out a description of the suspects and their car. On Wednesday afternoon, a California Highway Patrol officer spotted a white Plymouth Breeze near Yuba, Calif., according to Hastings.
The CHP officer conducted what police call a “felony traffic stop” and arrested David Joseph Pedersen, 31, and Holly Ann Grigsby, 24.
"There were weapons, there were firearms found in the vehicle, but we've asked CHP not to release what those were at this time," Hastings said.
The two were expected to be jailed in Yuba City, but one law enforcement official said it was unknown where they would be taken after that.
Police have said both are the prime suspects in the murder of Pederson's stepmother, Leslie Pedersen. She was found dead in her Everett, Wash. home with her hands duct-taped together.
After Myers' disappearance, surveillance video from a Salem minimart showed a man and a woman in Myers' car, but the young man was nowhere to be seen. Somebody who was in the car used Leslie Pederson’s credit card at the store.
"We can say without a doubt that a vicious, vile, reign of terror that's affected the West Coast of the United States has come to an end," said Capt. Ken Summers, with the Yamhill County Sheriff's Office, at Wednesday night's news conference.
Police got 68 tips on this in a matter of hours, and a few of those were key to figuring it all out and finding Myers.
David Joseph Pedersen's father, David Jones Pedersen, is still unaccounted for and is considered endangered. Neighbors said they saw the two leave the father's house in Everett together in a Jeep.
Police say they still need the public's help in finding that black 2010 Jeep Patriot. They think it was ditched in Oregon. It has a Washington license plate of ABZ-7996, and on the front it has a red U.S. Marine placard.
Grigsby's father, Fred Grigsby of Portland, said earlier Wednesday that his daughter had been involved with white supremacists, but he was unsure whether Pedersen was as well. Mug shots of Pedersen show a tattoo on his neck reading "SWP," which in prison jargon stands for "Supreme White Power."
Police have not said whether they suspect any connections between the crime spree and white supremacists.
Fred Grigsby also said his daughter had kicked drug habits she developed as a teenager. "She went to treatment. I thought she got her life together," he told The Associated Press.
David Joseph Pedersen's convictions date to 1997, when he was 16 and convicted of robbery in Marion County, Ore., according to public records. He spent nearly six years in prison and was released in January 2003.
Less than a month later, he was arrested on charges that included assaulting a police officer in Eastern Oregon's Umatilla County. He was convicted on one count and spent seven years in prison, four of them at a federal prison in Colorado.
In 2000, while Pedersen was an inmate at the Snake River prison in Ontario, Ore., he sent a letter threatening to kill U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge, according to a federal indictment. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in federal prison and three years of probation. The judge's office declined to comment.
On July 7 this year, Pedersen told his federal probation officer in Portland that he had run out of Zoloft, a medication he was taking to treat depression, according to federal court records. Pedersen agreed to modify his probation documents, adding a requirement that he seek mental health treatment and take medication.
Grigsby spent time in prison for a variety of minor charges beginning in 2006, including identity theft and unauthorized use of a vehicle. After completing probation, she was again sentenced in 2008 on identity theft charges and served two years.
Grigsby's father said his daughter has a 2-year-old son, who is safe with the boy's father.
On Tuesday, Grigsby’s father told KATU News he was upset over the accusations. On Wednesday, he said he’s relieved his daughter was caught quickly.
"I'm relieved that it's over. I'm still devastated," he said. "I'm praying that she was held against her will. It's hard to see your daughter or even try to imagine your daughter doing something like this."
Fred Grigsby also said his heart goes out to all the other families involved.
ABOVE: David Pedersen and Holly Grigsby after they were stopped by a California Highway Patrol officer on Wednesday afternoon. (Photo courtesy Appeal Democart/www.appeal-democrat.com)
KATU News reporters Thom Jensen and Anita Kissée and KATU.com staff members Steve Benham and Bill Roberson contributed to this report.
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NEWBERG, Ore. - The family of a missing young man who appears to be connected to a pair of wanted suspects seen with his car received grim news on Wednesday that a body has been found.
Cody Myers, 19, has been missing for nearly a week after he failed to return from a trip to a jazz music festival on the Oregon Coast.
A woman and a man who appeared to be driving Myers' car were captured on video at a store trying to use the credit card belonging to a murdered Washington woman. 69-year-old Leslie Pedersen was found dead on Sept. 28 in her Everett, Wash. home.
The couple has been identified as 31-year-old David Pedersen (the murdered woman's stepson) and his girlfriend, 24-year-old Holly Grigsby. The pair at one time lived in Portland but their current living situation has not been determined, although a source told KATU that Grigsby was living in Salem.
Pedersen and Grigsby were arrested on Wednesday afternoon in California. | Read more about their arrest
Lt. Gregg Hastings with the Oregon State Police said the remains that were found are that of a young adult male but he also said the remains have not yet been positively identified.
The body was found off Highway 34 about 10 miles from Philomath near Alsea. Hastings said the remains were found by a citizen.
While investigators haven't identified the man, two sources close to the investigation said "it does not look good."
The body was taken to the state crime lab in Clackamas County for an autopsy and identification.
The autopsy should be completed by Thursday afternoon.
Hastings also said the remains showed signs that the death was "not accidental." He made his remarks Wednesday at a press conference that included family members who looked very solemn and made no statement.
A spokesperson for the family spoke briefly to thank those searching for Myers and took no questions.
David Pedersen and Holly Grigsby