Portland media sources say that police have recovered what they believe to be the body of Yashanee Vaughn, a 14-year-old Portland girl missing since March.
Based on new information received Thursday, police mounted a new search in the East Portland neighborhood of Rocky Butte on Friday. They reportedly recovered a body about 1:30 p.m. It is believed be that of Vaughn, whom police had previously said was the victim of a homicide.
Investigators believe she was killed blocks away in her boyfriend’s bedroom.
Lawyers for a 16-year-old boy charged with murder in the disappearance of Vaughn met earlier this week with a judge in a settlement conference. The Oregonian reported prosecutors met afterward with the judge but declined to comment. On Friday, the Multnomah County District Attorney released a statement that read “The discovery of human remains that occurred today in connection with ongoing investigation in this case resulted from information provided by the defendant this week. No promises or agreements of any kind were made in connection with the provision of this information. We will have no further comment on this matter.”
Michelle Bart, a spokeswoman for the family, cited those meetings when she talked to reporters near the base of the extinct cinder cone volcano where police began searching at daybreak.
“We expect to bring Yashanee home today,” she said.
The 16-year-old, Parrish Bennette Jr., has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder with a firearm and first-degree manslaughter with a firearm. He is being held without bail.
At a news conference late Friday morning, police spokesman Lt. Robert King said “We’re here to bring Yashanee home to her family so that they have closure. That is our ultimate hope.”
The girl’s mother reported her missing March 21. Police searched Rocky Butte in April. The hill is heavily forested but has residential and park areas.
A Portland police detective has testified that Bennette told his father a gun “went off” and killed the girl but denied the statement when confronted by investigators.
The police said a search of the youth’s bedroom turned up evidence that blood had soaked through a carpet and evidence of an attempt to clean blood off the wall.