A Washington state woman was found dead two days after she was abducted from her home and held for ransom, and following arrangements to meet the kidnapper’s demand, officials said.
Sandra Harris, 69, was reported missing by her husband, who said his wife had been taken against her will from their Kennewick home shortly before noon Friday, police said in a statement.
The Kennewick Police Department and the FBI made contact with a suspect in the abduction, who they said demanded a ransom of an undisclosed amount for the safe return of Harris.
After negotiating for hours, a money exchange was arranged in rural Franklin County, where authorities apprehended Theresa Wiltse, 49, following the drop-off at about 10 p.m. Friday, police said.
Harris’ body was found Sunday afternoon along Coffin Road, less than 20 miles from Kennewick, by a motorist who called 911, the Benton County Sheriff's Office told Q13FOX.
It was not clear how Harris had died.
Wiltse allegedly would not tell police where to find Harris, according to reports.
Though she was the only occupant of a rented car with California license plates when she was taken into custody, police said they have not ruled out the possibility that Wiltse may have had an accomplice.
Wiltse was booked into the Benton County jail for suspicion of kidnapping. She was being held without bond and is expected to be formally charged by 5 p.m. Wednesday, the Tri-City Herald reported.
Police said they did not believe the kidnapping was random, as Wiltse is known to Harris and her husband, and the public is not in danger.
“We have reason to believe this family was specifically targeted. We are still working on answering the ‘why’ question,” Kennewick police said.
Investigators are working with the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab to process Wiltse’s vehicle, officials said.
Anyone with information related to this case is encouraged to contact the Kennewick Police Department at 509-628-0333 or Crime Stoppers at 509 586-8477.