Police ID prime suspect in Oregon coast homicide

WINCHESTER BAY — A man arrested after a crime spree in Northern California is the prime suspect in the murder of a woman whose body was found near Winchester Bay, Oregon State Police confirmed Wednesday.

Jeffrey Boyce of North Bend, was arrested Monday night in Marin County on suspicion of carjacking and kidnapping a man at gunpoint.

The 30-year-old has yet to be charged in the Oregon homicide, but state police said he is the suspect and detectives are pursuing leads.

A couple discovered the woman's body in blackberry bushes Sunday morning after stopping by the Winchester Bay Wayfinding Point, south of Reedsport along Highway 101. The spot is near the Umpqua Lighthouse and is a popular place for whale watching.

Police have tentatively identified the victim but won't disclose her name until it's confirmed by a medical examiner.

John Sandstrom of Ventura County, Calif., told The World newspaper of Coos Bay that he believes the victim is his 56-year-old sister-in-law. She had driven to Oregon to visit a son and her car was found at the crime scene, he said.

Relatives have made many unsuccessful calls to her cellphone, Sandstrom added, and police have inquired about photographs, characteristics and identifying marks.

Boyce allegedly carjacked a man's BMW station wagon at gunpoint in Marin County and forced him to drive to a church in neighboring Sonoma County, Rohnert Park Police Lt. Jeff Taylor said Tuesday. Boyce then left the car and pulled several rifles from a truck he drove to the parking lot before the carjacking, placing them in the victim's car. The victim was able to escape, Taylor said.

About two hours later, Boyce then apparently tried a second carjacking, this time a woman's truck outside a shopping center in the Greenbrae area of Marin County, police said.

The woman escaped, and Boyce was arrested a short time later.

Rohnert Park police Sgt. Aaron Johnson said Boyce's mother told police that her son is mentally ill. Johnson said a truck that Boyce was driving before the carjacking contained more than 200 rounds of assault rifle-style bullets and a loaded .22-caliber rifle.

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