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Young man's body found as police search for murder suspects last seen with missing teen's car
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) ' Police searching for a couple suspected of murdering a woman said Wednesday that they found the body of a young adult male, but did not know yet whether it was a missing teen whose car was last seen with the fugitives.
Authorities have been looking for 19-year-old Cody Myers, who disappeared after leaving Saturday for a jazz festival on the Oregon coast. David Joseph Pedersen and his girlfriend, Holly Grigsby, have been spotted using the Lafayette teen's car.
The discovery in the woods of Willamette Valley was the latest development in a two-state search that started last week with the murder of Pedersen's stepmother. Pedersen's father, David Jones Pedersen, was also missing from their trailer home in Everett, Wash.
Lt. Gregg Hastings, spokesman for Oregon State Police, said evidence showed the young adult male whose body was found did not suffer an accidental death. Hastings said Myers' family had been notified but the body had not been identified.
He also warned that the fugitive couple was armed and a danger to the public. Both have criminal records.
"We want to emphasize the public safety danger these two suspects pose in our community," Hastings said.
Grigsby's father, Fred Grigsby, appealed for his daughter to surrender.
"I hope she turns herself in," he told The Associated at his home in Portland, Ore.
Grigsby said his daughter had kicked drug addictions she developed as a teenager. "She went to treatment. I thought she got her life together," he said.
Grigsby said his daughter had been involved with white supremacists, but 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 Northwest crime spree and white supremacists.
Investigators are looking for a Jeep they believe the pair abandoned and for Myers' Plymouth Breeze, which investigators said Pedersen and Grigsby had on Sunday when the woman tried to use a stolen credit card at a Salem gasoline station.
Pedersen's stepmother, Leslie Pedersen, 69, was found dead Sept. 28 with her hands tied with duct tape and a bloody pillow wrapped around her head. Police said Tuesday they had probable cause to arrest the two suspects on murder charges.
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.
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.
Cooper reported from Salem. Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Tim Fought and Terrence Petty in Portland, Ore., and news researcher Judy Ausuebel in New York.