Sirens & Gavels

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 5, 2011, 5:09 P.M.

Couple in NW manhunt caught in Calif.


PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A weeklong manhunt for a couple wanted in the slaying of a Washington state woman and the disappearance of an Oregon teenager ended Wednesday with their arrest on a Northern California highway.

David Joseph Pedersen and Holly Grigsby are suspects in the killing of Pedersen's stepmother in Everett, Wash., Sept. 28 and in the disappearance of a 19-year-old Oregon jazz fan last seen Saturday on his way to a music festival on the coast.

The body of a young man was found Tuesday night in a wooded area of the Willamette Valley, but authorities said they had not yet confirmed his identity.

The arrests north of Sacramento left unanswered the question of the whereabouts of Pederson's father, David Jones Pederson, who was last seen 700 miles to the north, in Everett.

The 31-year-old son and Grigsby, his 24-year-old girlfriend, were pulled over after a Highway Patrol officer spotted a white Plymouth Breeze that Cody Myers had been driving when he disappeared last weekend.

"I don't believe there was any resistance," said Yuba County sheriff's Lt. Damon Gil.

The manhunt started when David Joseph Pedersen's stepmother, Leslie Pedersen, was found slain in her trailer home in Everett. Her hands had been bound with duct tape and a bloody pillow was around her head. A sword was found nearby.

Myers was last seen when he left his Willamette Valley home for a jazz festival in the Oregon coastal town of Newport.

Investigators said Pedersen and Grigsby had Myers' car Sunday when the woman tried to use a stolen credit card at a Salem, Ore., gasoline station.

The two were expected to be jailed in Yuba City, but one law enforcement official said it was unknown where they would be taken after that.

"All that is yet to be determined," said Sgt. Robert Goetz of the Everett police.

Grigsby's father, Fred Grigsby of Portland, said earlier Wednesday that his daughter had been involved with white supremacists, but he 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 crime spree and white supremacists.

Fred Grigsby also said his daughter had kicked drug habits she developed as a teenager. "She went to treatment. I thought she got her life together," he told The Associated Press.

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.

In 2000, while Pedersen was an inmate at the Snake River prison in Ontario, Ore., he sent a letter threatening to kill U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge, according to a federal indictment. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in federal prison and three years of probation. The judge's office declined to comment.

On July 7 this year, Pedersen told his federal probation officer in Portland that he had run out of Zoloft, a medication he was taking to treat depression, according to federal court records. Pedersen agreed to modify his probation documents, adding a requirement that he seek mental health treatment and take medication.

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, Ore. Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Tim Fought and Terrence Petty in Portland, Ore., and Don Thompson in Sacramento; and news researcher Judy Ausuebel in New York.

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