Fugitive couple captured

  • By Diana Hefley and Rikki King Herald Writers
  • Wednesday, October 5, 2011 2:36pm
  • Local NewsEverett

Two people wanted in connection with a grisly killing in Everett were arrested Wednesday afternoon after they crossed paths with a California Highway Patrol officer in a rural area north of Sacramento, Calif.

An officer spotted a slain Oregon teenager’s missing vehicle in the Yuba City area. The driver and passenger were identified as David Joseph Pedersen, 31, and Holly Ann Grigsby, 24, according to the Oregon State Police.

The fugitives surrendered without incident. Officers found two loaded handguns and a rifle in the car, according to reports from The Appeal-Democrat in Marysville, Calif.

“It’s a huge relief to all of us that our two suspects are in custody,” Everett police Sgt. Robert Goetz said.

Everett police have probable cause to arrest the pair in connection with the death of Leslie Pedersen, 69. She was found stabbed to death in her home Sept. 28. David Joseph Pedersen is the son of her husband, David “Red” Jones Pedersen, 56. He’s been missing for more than a week.

“We still need to remember that we have a missing person, Mr. Pedersen,” Goetz said. “While we have two people in custody, the case is far from over.”

Oregon investigators also want to talk to the pair about the death of Cody Myers, 19, of Lafayette, Ore. Myers was reported missing Sunday. He never returned home from a trip to Newport, Ore.

Pedersen and Grigsby were spotted earlier driving Myers’ car, a Plymouth Breeze in Oregon. Oregon investigators confirmed that Myers’ body was discovered Tuesday in a remote wooded area. He was a victim of homicide, Oregon State Police Lt. Gregg Hastings said at a press conference Wednesday night in Salem, Ore.

It’s unclear how long the teen had been dead, Hastings said.

The suspects were in Myers’ car when they were arrested in California on Wednesday afternoon.

California Highway Patrol officer Terry Uhrich stopped along a rural road to check on a woman standing outside the Plymouth Breeze. He asked the woman if she needed help. She told Uhrich she was just stretching. As the officer was pulling away he remembered hearing a broadcast alert about 90 minutes earlier about a stolen car out of Oregon. The officer turned around and confirmed the license plate with a dispatcher. He then followed the car and requested back-up. About two miles down the road, the Plymouth’s driver pulled over.

Uhrich pulled his gun and waited for more officers.

“It took about three minutes. It felt like 40,” said Uhrich, a Washington state native.

The couple inside the car chatted and kissed each other even as Uhrich held them at gunpoint, the officer said. Grigsby was driving and Pedersen was in the passenger’s seat. There was a loaded .22-caliber handgun at the woman’s feet.

“I fully expected a pursuit,” Uhrich said. “I also got worried when they started kissing. I wondered if they were saying their last good-byes.”

Pedersen and Grigsby were taken into custody at gunpoint.

Oregon and Washington detectives were expected to travel to California.

Meanwhile, detectives continue to search for Red Pedersen. The elder Pedersen hasn’t been seen or heard from since Sept. 26. Witnesses told police that the suspects had visited the Pedersens at their Everett mobile home the weekend before Leslie Pedersen’s body was discovered. According to court papers, Red Pedersen is a military veteran and has medical problems that would make it painful for him to ride in a car for long periods of time.

Police still are searching for the Everett couple’s 2010 Black Jeep Patriot, Washington license ABZ7996.

The male suspect, David “Joey” Pedersen, has a history of violent crime and sports “white power”-themed tattoos.

At the time of his arrest Pedersen was wearing a turtleneck, covering the “SWP” tattooed on his neck. He also wore a bandage on his cheek that covered another tattoo, The Appeal-Democrat reported.

Grigsby apparently had dyed her hair.

Pedersen served time in federal prison for threatening a judge and has multiple felony assault convictions, one of which was against a police officer.

Pedersen also is a mixed martial arts fighter who has been defeated in each of his three professional bouts. His last known address was in Oregon.

Grigsby’s father, Fred Grigsby, told the Associated Press that his daughter has a history of drug problems and had been involved with white supremacists. She also has served time in prison.

Police say Grigsby was spotted Sunday at an Oregon convenience store attempting to use Leslie Pedersen’s stolen credit card.

Investigators were tracking the pair based on their attempted use of the stolen credit cards. That’s how California officers knew to be looking for the fugitives and the car they are believed to have taken from the slain Oregon teen.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

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