WALLA WALLA — Spokane authorities have arrested a 17-year-old boy in the shooting death of a Walla Walla woman whose body was found down a 25-foot embankment in Walla Walla County last week.
Carlos Valdez surrendered Tuesday evening at a Spokane motel following a standoff with the FBI Violent Crime Task Force and the Spokane Police Department, according to Walla Walla County Sheriff John Turner.
Valdez was charged Tuesday in the Juvenile Department of Walla Walla County Superior Court with first-degree, premeditated murder for allegedly shooting Yesica A. Olivos in the head.
In connection with the murder charge, an arrest warrant was issued for Valdez and he was tracked to Spokane based on tips local authorities received.
Turner said two people suspected of rendering criminal assistance to Valdez also were arrested. They are identified as Valdez's girlfriend, Breanne Rutherford, and an associate, Andres Torres-Rodriguez.
A fourth person in the room is being questioned.
Members of the Walla Walla Sheriff's Office intend to travel to Spokane on Wednesday to transport the suspects back to Walla Walla.
Valdez will be booked into the Walla Walla Juvenile Justice Center. But according to state law, his case will be transferred to adult court because of his age and the serious nature of the charge.
Officials believe Olivos, 20, was killed the evening of Dec. 31 or early Jan. 1 after she was hanging out with Valdez, an alleged gang member, and other members and affiliates for a couple of days.
A passer-by came upon her body Friday morning off Frog Hollow Road where it turns into Mojonnier Road at the Walla Walla River Bridge.
Details of what led to the murder are sketchy.
Turner told the Union-Bulletin officials still are trying to determine a motive.
It could have been sparked by an argument, might be gang-related or brought on by narcotics use or trafficking, Turner said.
In addition to Valdez, three people — including Rutherford — apparently were present when Olivos was shot, according to a Sheriff’s Office report filed in court.
The report includes information provided from several unnamed sources, one of whom told officials Olivos “needed to ‘be dead’ for apparently she was not being the person she should be according to this group.”
A different source told a deputy, “Carlos and Yesica had an argument” and perhaps that’s why she was killed.
Deputies also spoke with a source claiming to have been asleep in a car when Valdez allegedly shot Olivos. The source reportedly had gotten into the car and fallen asleep after seeing Valdez and Olivos — who were clothed — asleep on the same bed at a residence.
The source later learned that Rutherford also had found Valdez and Olivos in bed and yelled at them.
After having apparently traveled in the car to the scene of the shooting, the source was awakened by a gunshot, and Valdez got out and “started dragging Yesica by her foot to the edge of the road,” the Sheriff’s Office report says.
The source then reportedly looked away and doesn’t know what happened next except that Rutherford got into the driver’s seat, Valdez into the passenger seat and they drove off.
Valdez allegedly admitted to someone he shot Olivos in the back of the neck. He later put the gun in Torres-Rodriguez's truck and asked him to “go back and make sure that (Olivos) was dead,” according to the Sheriff’s Office report.
The source then reportedly was taken to the Tri-Cities, where Valdez wouldn’t let the person leave. The person managed to get away after three or four days.
Olivos, reportedly a Walla Walla High School graduate who had attended Walla Walla Community College, was fully clothed when her body was found. However her pants were down at her knees and she had no shoes. Evidence has been collected to determine if she was sexually assaulted.
Detailed information about the gun hasn’t been released.