PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The man accused of killing a Vancouver mother and her 7-year-old daughter pleaded not guilty at an arraignment hearing on Monday.
Kirkland Warren was formally charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Meshay Melendez and Layla Stewart, whose bodies were found in a Washougal ditch. Prosecutors say Warren shot both Melendez and Stewart in the head.
“We know he is guilty, there is no shadow of a doubt in any of the family’s mind,” said Michelle Bart, a spokesperson for the victims’ family from the National Women’s Coalition Against Violence & Exploitation.
Warren was first arrested on March 19 after being named a person of interest in Melendez’s and Stewart’s disappearances, who were last seen alive on March 12.
He was under a no-contact order for allegedly shooting at their home about ten days before they disappeared.
“The restraining orders are false security blankets. He was released with no GPS in the first place. We’re angry there’s no protection. Something needs to be done,” said Shay, a family friend of Melendez’s.
Warren is being held in jail without bail. His next court date is scheduled for May 23.
He was also wanted in Arkansas in connection with a 2017 murder.
Stay with KOIN 6 for continuing coverage on this case.