SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — The family of a Salem woman caught up in a crime spree involving a Bend murder suspect told KOIN 6 News she was kidnapped.
Aundreah Maes, 19, was released from jail hours after she was arrested with Edwin Lara, the primary suspect in the disappearance and murder of Kaylee Sawyer.
Maes, a 2015 graduate of West Salem High School, was initially charged with a number of crimes including attempted murder and kidnapping. But police in Yreka, California said they dropped all charges against her after determining she was a victim in the case.
Her great uncle, Jerry Miranda, said her family was in absolute shock.
“It was a crazy situation,” Miranda said. “It’s terrible, it’s been all day… Her mom, her grandmother, everyone was going crazy just wondering how she’s doing.”
Maes’ family became concerned when she didn’t come home from work Monday night. Miranda said his great niece was in her car in the Ross Dress for Less parking lot when Lara “jumped in with a gun and abducted her.”
Lara is accused of dumping Sawyer’s body and driving down to California. Maes was there when he allegedly shot an elderly man in the stomach and stole a car with 3 people inside. Police eventually caught up with them north of Redding.
Miranda said his heart sunk when he learned about the murder and what followed.
“Once you find out what the guy had done, that’s what makes it crazy,” he said. “I saw pictures of [Sawyer] and my great niece… It could have been Aundreah also.”
Miranda and other family members drove down to California Tuesday night to pick up Maes. They arrived back in Salem around 4 a.m. Wednesday.
Maes asked for privacy Wednesday, just a day after the incident, but said she would soon like to discuss the incident because she learned things that might help others.