Editor’s Note: Details in this story may be disturbing to some readers.
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A man accused of murdering his Southwest Washington girlfriend and her 7-year-old daughter faces an additional charge of child rape after new evidence was revealed by Clark County investigators.
Kirkland Warren was initially arrested on March 19, 2023, after being named the prime suspect in the disappearance of Meshay Melendez and her daughter Layla Stewart in Southwest Washington.
On March 22nd, the bodies of Melendez and Stewart were found in an embankment, both with gunshot wounds.
According to a probable cause document from Vancouver police investigators, Stewart was discovered naked from the waist down.
Investigators said that stuck to her body was a clothing tag that was linked to a shirt found in the backseat of Warren’s car. Along with the shirt, officials said they located a pair of children’s underwear and leggings which matched what Stewart was last seen wearing.
While being later examined, it was determined that Stewart had been shot twice in the head, and since she was naked from the waist down, the Clark County Medical Examiner performed swabs of her vaginal, rectal and thigh areas where a reddish substance similar to blood was uncovered.
The substance was sent to the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab, which returned its findings on Oct. 18.
According to the findings report, semen was detected in the recovered sample and upon analysis, it was tied to DNA from Kirkland Warren which had previously been obtained.
In April, Warren pled not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, but now the Clark County District Attorney’s Office is asking to add another charge for first-degree child rape.
Warren’s next hearing is set for Nov. 7.