2 Hermiston Residents Charged with Abuse of a Corpse - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

2 Hermiston Residents Charged with Abuse of a Corpse

2 Hermiston Residents Charged with Abuse of a Corpse

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HERMISTON, Wash., -- Two Hermiston residents were arrested Tuesday and charged with Abuse of a Corpse in the second degree Wednesday afternoon. A judge setting the bond for 60 year old Ronnie Walls and 39 year old Erika Powell bond at $100-thousand each.

District Attorney for Umatilla County, Dean Gushwa says 52 year old Mathew Eastwood died inside their Hermiston home along Canal Road Friday evening.  He says instead of calling  police, the pair did put the body in his van and drove it to the back of Denny's along US 395 in Hermiston.  The body decomposing inside, "that van was left for five days in over 100 degree heat behind a restaurant," says Gushwa.

Eastwood's son filing a missing persons report Saturday and arriving at the Denny's on Tuesday after somebody spotted his father's vehicle.  Gushwa says, " It was tragic the way the body was found by the son of the victim."
Donna Lear who works at Denny's saw the panic first hand,  "I thought it was a domestic thing at first until the young man walked over to the van and said, dude our dad is dead in the van," says Lear.

An autopsy was performed on Eastwood this afternoon to see if any foul play was involved.  They are also conducting toxicology reports and pending on the results, the defendants may face more charges.

Gushwa says the two were caught on camera thanks to the surveillance at Denny's.  He says, " the woman drove up on Friday night, left the van and another car picked her up.  She then returned about an hour later and went back in.  I believe she was wiping off fingerprints, her fingerprints of the interior and exterior of the van."

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