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The body of a third victim believed to have been killed by two white supremacists has been found in a badly mangled 2010 Jeep that plunged over a cliff in a remote, mountainous area east of Corvallis, Ore.
An autopsy was under way today in Portland, but authorities believe the body is that of 56-year-old David “Red” Pedersen, a disabled ex-Marine who disappeared from his home in Everett, Wash., on Sept. 28. The body of his wife, Leslie “DeeDee” Pedersen, 69, was found in the home, her neck apparently slashed with a sword found at the scene. The suspects in the case are David “Joey” Pedersen, 31, a white supremacist and martial arts expert, and his companion, Holly Ann Grigsby, 24, of Portland. Authorities say both have extensive criminal records and ties to neo-Nazi and white supremacist gangs.
The couple had been visiting Pedersen’s father and stepmother prior to the crime spree that included the apparent abduction and murder of 19-year-old Cody Myers of Lafayette, Ore.
The Oregon teen who talked of becoming a minister was shot in the head and chest before his body was discovered on Oct. 4 in the Marys Peak area west of Corvallis, Ore., about 250 miles south of Everett. On Friday afternoon, investigators found Pedersen’s wrecked Jeep containing a body over an embankment near the Yellowbottom Campground, about 30 miles east of Corvallis in Linn County, Ore.
Everett Police Sgt. Robert Goetz declined today to say whether interviews of the two suspects led authorities to the discovery of the Jeep. “It was down a very steep embankment, some have described it as a cliff,’’ he said, “and the body of an adult male was found inside.”
Recovery of the vehicle was difficult because of the terrain, Goetz said, but it was removed by a wrecker and transported back to Everett for forensic processing by Washington State Patrol detectives.
Joey Pedersen and Grigsby were arrested Oct. 5 near Marysville, Calif., driving a car registered to Myers and believed stolen at the time of his murder. They remain in custody in Yuba City, Calif.
“A vicious, wild reign of terror has come to an end,” Yamhill County, Ore., Sheriff Ken Summers said after the arrest of the pair.
Authorities now are attempting to determine which of four possible jurisdictions in Washington, Oregon and California will handle the initial prosecution of the suspects.
“There are some early indications that (Snohomish County) Washington – Everett – will go first,’’ in bringing criminal charges, Goetz told Hatewatch today.
More than a dozen investigators in Everett have been involved in the investigation, including the lead two detectives who traveled to Oregon as part of their work, Goetz said.
Authorities in Everett are preparing to formally charge both Pedersen and Grigsby with first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and second-degree identity theft. Pedersen, who has spent almost half his life in prison, also will be charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, Goetz said.
While in prison in Oregon in February 2000, Pedersen sent U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge of Idaho a letter threatening to kill the judge. Investigators say they believe multiple other inmates were involved in the threats.
Court documents say Pedersen was affiliated with a neo-Nazi gang called the Aryan Death Squad.
Dave Meyer, a deputy U.S. Marshal who runs judicial security for the U.S. Marshals Service in the District of Idaho, confirmed that Pedersen’s written threat involved the judge’s handling of the 1993 federal prosecution of Randy Weaver. At the time, Weaver was a federal fugitive whose actions triggered a 10-day siege with federal agents in North Idaho that is known as “Ruby Ridge.”
Meyer declined to describe the contents of Pedersen’s letter, but he did say that it clearly referenced the Weaver case, The Everett Herald reported. “Basically, his connection to Judge Lodge was that Mr. Pedersen claimed to be part of an Aryan organization, and Judge Lodge was the judge in Randy Weaver’s case, and that’s what he claimed the connection was,” Meyer told the newspaper last week.