Accused murderer of Vancouver mom and daughter held without bail

Published: Apr. 3, 2023 at 7:35 PM PDT
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VANCOUVER Wash. (KPTV) - A Clark County judge ordered the man accused of killing a Vancouver mother and her young daughter to be held in jail without bail.

Kirkland Warren sat emotionless on a video call into the courtroom as the family of 27-year-old Meshay Melendez and 7-year-old Layla Stewart watched on. On Friday, the Vancouver Police Department charged Warren with two counts of first-degree after the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office determined Meshay and Layla died from gunshot wounds to the head. Their bodies were found last month after being reported missing a week prior. Warren was initially arrested and considered a person of interest in their disappearance.

But after three hours of sitting through bail hearings, Michelle Bart, a spokesperson for Meshay’s family, questioned why the family had to wait until the very end of the afternoon to see Warren’s bail get denied. Family and friends of the victims sat through bail hearings for dozens of cases, including some that involved domestic violence. The judge in the case told the court that their Zoom system was overwhelmed with nearly 500 people logged in, most wanting to hear Warren’s hearing. She also said it’s up to Clark County Jail on who they bring forward for their hearing.

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Bart told reporters outside of the courthouse this was unacceptable. She said it forced the family of Meshay and Layla to hear disturbing cases of violence against women, reliving the trauma of what happened to their loved one.

“If you all listened to every single case you can see people that pistol wiped a woman and got off on fewer technicalities, everyone was given bond, we need to do better in Clark County,” Bart said. “We just revictimized an entire family of victims that is here to have justice for Meshay and Layla.”

A GoFundMe has been set up for the family of Meshay and Layla.