Man in custody in connection with levee attack in Pendleton

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PENDLETON (AP) — Pendleton police have captured a man they want to question in connection with a 2012 woman’s slaying and an Aug. 9 attack that critically injured another woman, the police chief confirmed Wednesday night.

“We’ve got a pretty important interview to conduct tonight,” Chief Stuart Roberts told the East Oregonian.

In previous run-ins, the young transient has given his age as 23 and provided a name police aren’t sure is accurate. Two food service workers spotted him Wednesday night in the Pendleton Convention Center, recognized him from photos in news stories, and called for help.

Police armed with assault rifles captured him after a 2 ½ hour search of the center.

The man was hiding above a ceiling and an officer spotted his foot hanging down, Roberts said. The young man was taken into custody after a Umatilla County sheriff’s police dog was brought in.

Karen Lange, 53, of Pendleton, remains hospitalized in Portland after an attacker beat her on the head with a length of galvanized pipe on Aug. 9. The attack took place along the Umatilla River levee.

Roberts said surveillance video showed a man following the victim and coming out of a restroom where police believe he cleaned up after the attack.

The chief recently said DNA evidence on the pipe matched DNA from a knife at the scene where 19-year-old AmyJane Brandhagen was killed on Aug. 14, 2012. She was killed at her job in a hotel across the street from Pendleton’s City Hall.

Roberts said this week that Oregon State Police would examine DNA from personal items and clothing the man they sought had left behind after earlier arrests for such offenses as trespassing and living illegally along the levee.

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