Three aggravated murder suspects indicted for death of Portland - KPTV - FOX 12

Three aggravated murder suspects indicted for death of Portland woman

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Jail booking photos of Jesse Lane, Charles Vernon and Stephanie Toney. Jail booking photos of Jesse Lane, Charles Vernon and Stephanie Toney.
ST. HELENS, OR (KPTV) -

Three people have been indicted on charges including aggravated murder in connection with the death of a Portland woman whose body was found down an embankment in St. Helens.

Jesse Allen Lane, 28, of Medford, Charles William Vernon, 29, of St. Helens and Stephanie Toney, 20, of St. Helens were arraigned in the courtroom in the Columbia County Jail on Thursday morning.

The body of 34-year-old Apache Rose Hightower was found by a passerby down an embankment off the 3000 block of Pittsburg Road in rural St. Helens the afternoon of Sept. 20.

Her death was ruled a homicide following an autopsy and her ex-boyfriend, Lane, was identified as a person of interest.

Lane has a lengthy criminal record and was described by law enforcement as armed and dangerous.He was taken into custody Sept. 29 in Santa Barbara, California. He was then extradited back to Oregon to face murder charges.

Court documents showed that prosecutors believe Lane kidnapped and strangled Hightower to prevent her from being a witness in a criminal case and that Hightower was intentionally maimed or tortured.

The records also show that prosecutors think Vernon and Toney, his fiance, had never met Hightower before they assisted Lane in her murder.

Lane, Vernon and Toney each face charges including aggravated murder, kidnapping and hindering prosecution. Lane also faces the charge of strangulation.

They are all in jail without bail. A plea hearing is scheduled for Monday. 

A GoFundMe page started by Hightower's family states she had a baby daughter.

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