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May-31-2007 19:53printcomments

Oregon Murder Suspect Arrested in New Mexico

40-year old Richard Lee Pruitt was a Fugitive from Justice for Murder in the First Degree.

40-year old Richard Lee Pruitt
40-year old Richard Lee Pruitt
Photo courtesy: Otero County Detention Center

(ALAMOGORDO, N.M.) - An eight-month interagency homicide investigation into an Oregon homicide led to an arrest in New Mexico today. A second person is being detained as a material witness in connection with the murder investigation.

The deceased man was found in September, 2006, in a field west of Interstate 5, adjacent to the Central Point interchange in southern Oregon. On September 29th, 2006, the deceased body of 47-year old Darin Drake was found in a field about 100 feet west of Interstate 5 at the Central Point interchange exit 33.

An investigation was initiated by an interagency Jackson County Major Assault and Death Investigation Unit. An autopsy indicated that Mr. Drake was assaulted and the victim of a homicide.

Investigators say that over the next several months, seized evidence at the scene was analyzed at the Oregon State Police Crime Lab. The results provided investigators with information of possible suspects who were subsequently located May 23rd, 2007 by a local law enforcement agency in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

Two investigators were sent to New Mexico for follow-up work that resulted in warrants for two suspects.

40-year old Richard Lee Pruitt was lodged in the Otero County Detention Center as a Fugitive from Justice based on a warrant for Murder in the First Degree.

Police say that a second person, 34-year old Alexis Fehlman was also lodged on a Material Witness warrant. With the assistance of the United States Marshal Service, both persons are going to be brought back to Oregon in the next week and will be lodged in the Jackson County Jail pending an appearance in Jackson County Circuit Court.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.