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Wednesday, February 28, 2024
Feb. 28, 2024

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Man arrested in Skamania County in death of Kennewick man

By , Columbian staff reporter

A Hermiston, Ore., man is suspected of killing a 76-year-old Kennewick man, stealing his SUV and later leading police on a chase into rural Skamania County this week.

Kennewick police responded Tuesday to 440 S. Buchanan St., after a housekeeper reported finding a resident, identified as Clayton Wick, dead inside the house, according to a police news release. Wick lived alone, and investigators believe he had been dead for three to five days before the housekeeper found his body, the Tri-City Herald reported.

It appeared Wick suffered from “a violent assault and blunt force trauma,” the news release states, and detectives believe Wick’s death was a homicide. Investigators are still awaiting the results of an autopsy.

The Washington State Patrol crime lab spent two days documenting the scene and gathering evidence from the house, according to Kennewick police.

Detectives discovered the suspect also stole Wick’s 2012 Honda CRV, the news release states. A warrant was issued for Christopher Calvert, 44, for theft of a motor vehicle and, later, first-degree murder. Kennewick police said Calvert was an acquaintance of Wick’s.

On Thursday, investigators learned Calvert was in Stevenson. The U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force, Kennewick detectives and deputies from the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office found Calvert at about 3 p.m., driving Wick’s Honda, according to the news release.

Calvert drove away when police tried to stop him, and officers pursued him for four to five minutes before pushing him into a ditch, where the SUV became disabled, Kennewick police said. Calvert was arrested and booked into the Benton County Jail on suspicion of auto theft and first-degree murder with aggravating circumstances of invasion of privacy, lack of remorse and excessive injuries, the news release states.

Investigators said they haven’t determined a motive for Wick’s killing.

Anyone with information about Wick’s death is asked to contact the Kennewick Police Department at 509-628-0333. Detectives said they would like to speak with anyone Calvert talked to about the homicide.

Wick was a former bassist for the Walla Walla Symphony, according to the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin.