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Man Arrested For Murder Of Missing Oregon Woman, But Records Indicate More May Be Involved
Authorities believe that 42-year-old Tonna Davis was dead weeks before she was reported missing in April.
Authorities believe a man arrested for the murder of a missing woman in Oregon may have had help, jail records suggest.
Gustavo Ochoa-Valadez, 35, was arrested on Sept. 3 for the murder of 42-year-old Tonna Davis, according to the Salem Reporter. Davis was last seen on March 17, 2021, at the Days Inn by Wyndham Black Bear in Salem, Oregon.
Charges against Ochoa-Valadez include two counts of second-degree murder, two kidnapping charges, two charges of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, one count of conspiracy to commit second-degree murder, and three charges of the unlawful use of a weapon, according to jail records.
In the state of Oregon, a person charged with criminal conspiracy “agrees with one or more persons to engage in or cause the performance” of a crime, according to state law provisions, indicating that authorities believe more than one person was involved in Davis' death.
Davis, who also goes by Tonna Marie Purnell, has not yet been found, according to Crime Stoppers of Oregon.
Investigators from the Salem Police Department believe Davis was murdered on March 29 and was already dead by the time she was reported missing on April 7, according to the Salem Reporter.
While authorities have not yet released why they believe Davis is dead, a Facebook page devoted to the missing woman acknowledged claims last May that she’d been shot to death.
“Her personal Facebook got attention when many friends starting [sic] posting ‘RIP,’ gone too soon. Openly saying he was shot and gone,” the post read. “Rumor[s] of her being killed are so consistent in the community. It worries all of us that are missing her. We have to find her!”
Investigators suspect that Ochoa-Valadez kidnapped Davis with the intention of physically harming her and that he was “a participant in the crime,” according to the Reporter. He is also accused of using or threatening the use of a firearm against Davis and two other people.
Records do not show any other arrests in connection to Davis’ disappearance.
“My fear is that because she is a woman with a past and was currently trying to get out of the lifestyle she was in, she will be overlooked and dismissed,” the Facebook post continued. "The longer this goes with no attention, the less chance we have of finding her. So please consider sharing this, we are fearing the worst.”
Tonna’s cousin, Mickey Davis, told The Statesman Journal that though he lived in Washington, the two stayed in regular contact.
“It drew me as pretty odd,” said Mickey Davis. “I’ve kept in touch with her consistently. … I message her all the time. That’s what drew a red flag was on her birthday, she didn’t respond back.”
Friends, like Tonya Spangler, didn’t hear about Davis’ disappearance until weeks after she was gone, according to The Statesman Journal.
“By the time I got wind of it, it was already six weeks of her being missing, and I felt like if it’s been six weeks and nothing’s been happening, then I need to step in and make sure something happens,” Spangler told the Salem-based newspaper. “I just feel like it’s been so much time already. [We’ve] put in a joint effort to really reach out to everybody and try to make flyers and think of what we can do.”
According to Crime Stoppers of Oregon, Tonna is 5’0” tall of slender build. She has brown eyes and dark brown hair and may have been driving a black Ford Escape on the night of her disappearance.
Ochoa-Valadez was booked into the Marion County Jail and is expected to appear in court on Sept. 16.
Anyone with information about Tonna Davis’s disappearance is urged to submit a tip to Crime Stoppers of Oregon or the Salem Police Department at 503-588-8477.