Two Clatsop County residents have been charged with murder for allegedly killing 71-year-old Howard Daniel Vinge, whose body was found Friday wrapped in material off U.S. Highway 30, about 3 miles east of Astoria.
Christian J. Wilkins, 37, and Adeena M. Copell, 40, were found Tuesday near Flagstaff, Arizona, driving a car owned by Vinge. Arizona troopers stopped the car and arrested the couple for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
Wilkins and Copell had been suspects in the murder for several days, according to members of the Clatsop County Major Crime Team. A Sheriff’s Office detective and Seaside Police detective flew to Arizona to gather more information.
Wilkins and Copell were arraigned on the motor vehicle charges in Justice Court in Flagstaff, Arizona, Wednesday morning. Their bail was set at $150,000 each and an extradition hearing is scheduled for Friday.
Wilkins and Copell each have been in the Washington state court system. Wilkins faced theft charges in Pacific County in December 2015, for example.
Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis said he filed the murder charges Wednesday. The case will proceed before a grand jury in Circuit Court, he said.
If indicted, Marquis said, the two suspects will be extradited.
Both Copell and Wilkins recently struck up a relationship with Vinge, according to investigators.
While investigating Vinge’s suspicious death, police searched for his white 1993 Allegro Bay motor home and a dark maroon 1991 Lincoln Continental.
The motor home was found abandoned at the intersection of U.S. Highway 26 and U.S. Highway 53, about 12 miles east of Seaside. Wilkins and Copell were arrested driving the Lincoln Continental.
Investigators said the suspects encountered a man and woman in a black car while in the act of disposing of Vinge’s body between Sept. 21 and Sept. 27. They were spotted during daylight hours at the turnout east of mile marker 92 on U.S. Highway 30, near Fernhill Road east of Astoria.
Vinge apparently died from blunt force trauma to the back of his head. The homicide reportedly happened on Sept. 27.