She was in her car when a man wanted for murder forced her to drive 2,000 miles, authorities say
Alisha Ebrahimji and Amanda Jackson, CNN
(CNN) — What started as a woman’s lunch break on Friday in Oregon ended more than 2,000 miles away in Wisconsin on Sunday when a man wanted for a deadly crime spree turned himself in to police.
The suspect, Oen Evan Nicholson, 30, was wanted for murder in three attacks that left three people dead and one person seriously injured, according to police. Nicholson is also accused of forcing a woman from Springfield, Oregon, to drive him more than 2,000 miles away to Milwaukee, where he turned himself in.
Multiple crimes scenes
The incidents began Friday morning, according to Coos County District Attorney Paul Frasier, when two people were run over at the Mill Casino in North Bend, about 218 miles south of Portland. Police later identified the victims as a married couple from Florida — 74-year-old Anthony Oyster, who died, and 73-year-old Linda Oyster, who was injured.
On Sunday, Frasier said Linda Oyster remained in critical condition and in “bad shape.”
Soon after this incident, North Bend police received reports of a fatal shooting at the Herbal Choices Marijuana Dispensary, a little over a mile away from the casino, that left one person dead. The victim there was later identified as Jennifer Davidson, 47, of Coos Bay.
Witness descriptions led authorities to believe that the same individual was responsible for both crimes.
A description of the suspect’s pickup truck brought police to a trailer at an RV park next to the casino. A man believed to be the owner of both the truck and the trailer was found dead inside. On Sunday, Frasier identified the victim as 83-year-old Charles Simms Nicholson. He said he believed the man was the suspect’s father.
The pickup truck was found later along a highway in Lane County, Oregon, northeast of the crime scenes, crashed and set on fire. A witness told police the driver ran away. Surveillance video at a sporting goods store in North Bend appears to show the suspect purchasing more ammunition before leaving the area.
Nicholson’s whereabouts were unknown to authorities following the attacks on Friday and investigators released several surveillance photos of him, but warned people not to approach him because they believed him to be armed and dangerous.
Forced to drive the suspect
More than 100 miles away in Springfield, police began investigating a missing persons report for Laura Johnson, 34, who disappeared after she went on her lunch break Friday afternoon. According to Springfield Police, surveillance video showed Johnson leaving her job around 12:30 pm PDT.
Johnson picked up her lunch and returned to her original parking spot, according to police, but she never went back to work and hadn’t been heard from.
On Sunday, Springfield Police announced Johnson was found safe and unharmed. Police said that the man wanted in the deadly attacks in North Bend — Nicholson — had approached Johnson while she was in her car and forced her to drive him north, reads the police statement. Nicholson and Johnson eventually wound up in Milwaukee, according to police, where Nicholson was arrested without incident.
Police didn’t release any more information over the circumstances around Nicholson surrendering.
“Formal charges for this case are pending,” Springfield Police said in an online statement.
During a press briefing on Sunday in North Bend, Frasier said that Nicholson has been charged with murder for the three deaths, one count of attempted murder in the second degree, one count of assault in the first degree, and two counts of failure to perform the duties of a driver to injured persons.
He does not have an attorney, according to the Coos County courts.
Nicholson is being held in Wisconsin on fugitive warrants from Oregon, according to Springfield Police. He will have a court appearance in Wisconsin in the next couple of days, according to Frasier. At that point the extradition process will begin.