Editor’s note: Elements of this story may be graphic for some readers.
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A woman was shot and killed while sleeping in the back of a Jeep by her ex-boyfriend as it was being driven by another woman on rural Washington County roads before her ex-boyfriend and the woman dumped her body at an Aloha apartment complex inside of a trash compactor, investigators say in new court documents obtained by KOIN 6 News.
The body of Kaylee Birdzell, who the Washington County Sheriff’s Office says was killed sometime either late July 31 or in the early morning hours of Aug. 1, was recovered days later in a landfill near Corvallis.
Fabian Hernandez, her ex-boyfriend, was arraigned on charges of murder in the second degree and abuse of a corpse in the first degree on Thursday, a day after authorities announced Birdzell’s death.
The 27-year-old woman was reported missing on Friday by her sister, who, according to court documents, reported to deputies her sister was known to be with Hernandez, that he was using her phone, and said there was “no chance” Birdzell would let anyone else use her phone or vehicle.
By Sunday, investigators say they received an anonymous call reporting she had learned Hernandez and another woman “had murdered Kaylee Birdzell in the back of a vehicle and then put her body into a trash compactor,” according to the probable cause affidavit. The caller allegedly told investigators where Birdzell’s Dodge B3W van was in Tigard, and investigators searched the scene.
Meanwhile, the woman’s car, identified by investigators as a Jeep Liberty, was eventually pulled over by another Washington County deputy, who found the woman driving the vehicle and Hernandez in the passenger seat, according to the court document.
Investigators say the woman, who has not been charged at this time, told deputies she had not seen Birdzell “for weeks” before she “eventually became less compliant” and was read her Miranda rights.
Deputies at the scene noticed what appeared to be a bullet hole in the side of Jeep and saw “a small amount of blood spatter in the rear compartment” of the car, and that when they informed the woman her car was being seized due to the bullet hole, the woman allegedly told the deputy writing the affidavit the deputy “needed to get her away from Fabian and to a police station as soon as possible … [she] said she would tell me everything.”
Hernandez was then arrested on “unrelated crimes” at that scene, and investigators interviewed the woman at the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, where she allegedly informed deputies Birdzell’s body was dumped in a trash compactor at The Goose apartments in Aloha on Southwest 180th Avenue.
At the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the woman recounted that as she was driving in the rural area around Sherwood, Birdzell was asleep in the backseat of her Jeep when Hernandez “unexpectedly produced a firearm and shot Kaylee several times, ultimately leading to her death,” according to the court documents, which added the woman “described the gun as a ‘Dirty Harry Gun,’ and detailed a large caliber revolver pistol.”
Eventually, she and Hernandez put Birdzell’s body in a “steamer trunk” and dumped it into a trash compactor at the apartment complex, according to the affidavit.
The woman “stated multiple times that she was scared for her life if she didn’t do as Fabian told her to,” the affidavit stated. The woman also allegedly told investigators Hernandez had been living in Birdzell’s van.
Investigators tracked down the transfer station and the trailers, but the contents of the trailers had already gone to Corvallis by the time detectives arrived, according to the court documents.
A Washington County detective went to the landfill in Corvallis on Tuesday, where Birdzell’s remains were found that morning. A detective “was able to see several tattoos that matched the ones that Kaylee had as verified by her social media accounts. Kaylee’s remains were in a state of decomposition that made recognizing her face impossible.”
Authorities also say additional interviews found that Hernandez tried to sell a family member “a long barreled revolver” several months before Birdzell’s murder and that he was found in possession of Birdzell’s phone and van at the time of her murder.