The family of a missing Oregon woman received tragic news today when authorities told them that the disappearance of Kaylee Sawyer is now being treated as a murder investigation. KATU reports that cops in Redmond, Oregon, are treating the disappearance of the 23-year-old as a murder case. The station also reports that authorities are tracking a man named Edwin Lara, 31, as a person of interest in the case. He was considered armed-and-dangerous and was thought to now be in the Portland area which is around 150 miles north of Redmond. Fox Oregon reports that Lara was arrested in California close to Red Bluff at around 6:45 a.m. local time on July 26.
In a statement, the Destiny Project, a volunteer group who are leading the search for Sawyer, said, "The family of Kaylee Sawyer who went missing over the weekend are heartbroken over the news overnight in this case. The Bend Police Department are now treating this case as a homicide. We will still be launching a volunteer-based search to find her and bring her home. This situation is developing quickly and may change at any time. The family is working with the Destiny Search Project which provides assistance in organizing missing person searches.
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. Check-in will begin at 7:30 am and volunteers can come throughout the day. You should expect to search for at least an hour and will be welcomed to go out on multiple searches. Destiny Search Project is also beginning plans for a public vigil in support of Kaylee and her family. Details of that event will be released later today. This is a rapidly changing situation and we appreciate your patience as we work in support of Kaylee’s family."
The Bend Bulletin reports that Sawyer was last seen in the parking lot of her apartment complex close to the Central Oregon Community College building. That was at around 1 a.m. on July 24. She was reported missing by her family at around 7 p.m. on that day. KATU reports that Edwin Lara works as a security guard at the college.
Here are the photos that help to celebrate the life of Kaylee Sawyer: