Clark County men allegedly kidnap, rob, beat and bind Vancouver man to tree naked

Law enforcement say the man was stripped naked and tied to a tree

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian Breaking News Reporter and Patty Hastings, Columbian Social Services, Demographics, Faith



Two Clark County men were arrested for allegedly kidnapping and robbing a Vancouver man, beating him and stripping him of his clothes before duct-taping him to a tree.

Markus Lee Bedell, 25, of Washougal and Charles William Sample, 32, of Vancouver both face charges of first-degree kidnapping and first-degree robbery at their Thursday arraignment in Skamania County Superior Court.

The victim, Robert Downey, 27, knew both men and had met Bedell when they were previously incarcerated together, according to the probable cause affidavit.

According to the affidavit:

The incident began Aug. 15 at a restaurant in the 100 block of Northeast 117th Avenue, where Sample’s wife, Patricia, and Bedell met Downey to talk about a vehicle and dog belonging to the Samples that Downey allegedly stole. They took Downey’s wallet, cellphone and $400 from him before forcing him into Bedell’s two-toned Chevy Suburban.

Bedell said they planned to use “mob-style scare tactics” to make Downey believe they were going to kill him and ultimately get back the vehicle and dog. The affidavit did not indicate why Downey took the vehicle and dog.

After picking up Sample, who was being released from the Clark County Jail, they drove to the upper Washougal River area, off of North Fork Road; the site was described in the affidavit as a small, informal shooting range on land owned by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

There, Sample and Bedell allegedly beat Downey with brass knuckles and made him dig his own grave while pointing a gun at his head. The firearm was actually an air-soft gun that Downey believed was real, Bedell said in the affidavit.

Downey then confessed to taking the dog to Kelley Point Park in Portland, where he tied it to a tree and kicked it before leaving the dog in the park. Upset, Sample and Bedell cut off Downey’s clothes — leaving just his socks — taped him to a tree and beat him some more. They left, thinking Downey would be found by people visiting the site.

In the affidavit, Bedell said they never intended to kill Downey and even apologized and cut off the zip ties before leaving.

Downey worked himself free from the duct tape by the following morning, and made his way to North Fork Road. A passing motorist gave him a towel to wear around his waist but did not offer him a ride. A pair of hunters later picked him up and took him to Washougal River Mercantile, according to the affidavit.

Downey reportedly had multiple lacerations on his upper body, black eyes, and an apparently broken nose.

Deputies found the crime scene and collected evidence, including bloody duct tape and zip ties. The investigation led them to Bedell’s residence on Huckins-Buhman Road in rural Skamania County, where he was arrested Aug. 16. Four days later, investigators tied Sample to the crime and arrested him in Vancouver with assistance from the Vancouver Police Department.

The investigation into the crime is ongoing and detectives believe there may be more arrests.

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