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Nov. 27, 2021

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Victim in ‘armed and dangerous’ suspect’s case died of a gunshot to the head, officials say

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LONGVIEW — Officials say a body found in early October near the Cowlitz River died by homicide. The suspect is scheduled to be arraigned today.

Wednesday, the Cowlitz County Coroner’s Office reported the man, police found Oct. 6 about 280 feet from the Cowlitz River in Kelso, died of a gunshot wound to the head. The coroner ruled the manner of death as a homicide and the man was identified as a transient named William Henry Williams, 54.

The body was found in the 2100 block of South River Road in Kelso by officers, according to the Kelso Police Department. The suspect, Jeremiah Mathews, 34, was detained in Vancouver Oct. 14 by a regional SWAT team after police released a photo and description of the man they described as “armed and dangerous.”

Mathews is in Cowlitz County Jail without the option of bail, awaiting his Thursday arraignment in Cowlitz County Superior Court. Mathews is facing eight felony charges, including first-degree premeditated murder and first-degree robbery by inflicting bodily injury.

A witness led police to the body, according to the probable cause statement for Mathews’s arrest. Mathews told the witness he planned to kill Williams because he suspected he worked for the police, reports the statement. The witness said she heard a gunshot when Mathews and Williams were together. She said Mathews then drove over the body with the alleged victim’s truck, buried the body and burned evidence.

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