Four Portland murders tied to potential serial killer labeled ‘career criminal’
Fox Nation host Nancy Grace discusses the case that authorities believe is linked to Jesse Calhoun, who was previously granted early release from prison. She also weighs in after Alex Murdaugh was seen shirtless in selfies from prison.
Missing Mekenna Reiley, a 40-year-old Oregon speech teacher, was last seen in April disoriented and naked at a rural construction site according to her family, which suspects foul play and is asking for anyone who knows anything to speak with authorities.
Hours before she vanished, a work crew found her confused at their jobsite in Blue River, about 150 miles south of Portland, her sister, Bevin Stepp, who lives in Pennsylvania, told Fox News Digital.
“She told the police she was scared of something,” she said. “She said she couldn’t go home, she had nowhere safe to go…so she drove there.”
Now, the family says that a photo obtained by Fox News Digital shows an unidentified man who tried to access her storage unit in Phoenix, Oregon, sometime after she disappeared.
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Mekenna Reiley’s family believes this unidentified man tried to access her storage unit after her suspicious disappearance on April 5. The man has not been named a suspect or person of interest in connection with her disappearance. (Fox News Digital)
The image was captured by a keypad camera at Reiley’s storage unit. Authorities have not responded to questions about the image from Fox News Digital or publicly labeled the unidentified man a suspect or person of interest.
Investigators told the family that Reiley appeared to have either been “roofied” or on “a lot of acid” when law enforcement arrived at the construction site, Stepp said. However, in a public statement, the Lane County Sheriff’s Office said only that the missing woman “was possibly suffering from a mental health crisis.”
At the time she vanished, Reiley had an Arkansas-bound plane ticket and plans to visit a friend, according to her sister. Reiley, originally from Pennsylvania and the granddaughter of longtime former GOP State Rep. Merle Phillips, told relatives she wanted to move back because “she didn’t feel safe out there,” her sister said.
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Missing Mekenna Reiley in an undated photo provided by her sister. Right: A map of the Oregon area where she vanished, with a hand-drawn outline of the search area in blue ink. (Bevin Stepp)
She has now been missing for four months.
Reiley was last heard from when she arrived home around 10:30 p.m. on April 5, Stepp said – when neighbors told police they “heard two car doors closed.”
However, she should have been arriving home alone after a deputy responded to the work site and let her drive off on her own, Stepp said.
Reiley’s estranged former boyfriend has been ruled out as a suspect despite a history of domestic violence between them and an active no-contact order, according to Stepp, after passing a polygraph test. It was his ex and former mother-in-law who first reported Reiley missing, she said.
Mekenna Reiley, left, and her sister Bevin Stepp pose in an undated family photo. Reiley moved from her Pennsylvania hometown to Blue River, Oregon, but was last seen in April after Lane County deputies responded to a bizarre encounter at a construction site. (Bevin Stepp)
Police found Reiley’s phone, car, fresh groceries and pet dog Hilo at her home. Searchers later found a bag of clothes in the woods but no further signs of Reiley, according to her sister.
The sheriff’s office on April 7 said she was last seen near River Street and McKenzie Highway – near the construction site.
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Together, the circumstances of Reiley’s disappearance and the items left behind amount to a series of “disturbing characteristics” that have the family’s private investigator Scott McKee worried.
Sisters Bevin Stepp, right, and Mekenna Reiley pose for a photo at Stepp’s wedding in Pennsylvania. (Courtesy of Bevin Stepp)
“Its unique that you have a missing person whose last contact with anyone was with law enforcement under those circumstances,” said McKee, a 35-year police veteran who previously served as a violent crime detective in nearby Eugene, Oregon, and in internal affairs.
The items she left do not appear consistent with someone contemplating suicide, he said.
“The behavior tells me she’s either experiencing some kind of drug overdose and stripping her clothes off, or maybe she’s being pursued, and she’s looking for a place to hide,” he said.
Lane County officials denied a public records request for information on the case, including the initial missing person report, citing the active investigation, and the sheriff’s office has not responded to requests for comment.
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Mekenna Reiley, left, and her sister Bevin Stepp pose in an undated family photo. Reiley moved from her Pennsylvania hometown to Blue River, Oregon, but was last seen in April after Lane County deputies responded to a bizarre encounter at a construction site. Inset: More photos of Reiley. (Bevin Stepp)
Reiley is described as 5 feet, 2 inches tall and weighing around 110 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes. When she was last seen, she was wearing blue rain boots.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Lane County Sheriff’s Office at 541-682-4150.
About 150 miles to the north in Multnomah County, authorities first downplayed concerns then recently acknowledged a potential serial killer while naming a person of interest in connection with the disappearances of four women between February and May of this year.
The remains of Kristin Smith, 22; Charity Lynn Perry, 24; Bridget Webster, 31; and Ashley Real, 22; were found within 100 miles of one another.
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The person of interest, Jesse Lee Calhoun, a 38-year-old repeat felon, was reportedly released from prison early under a law signed by former Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.
Calhoun has not been charged in connection to the women’s disappearances or deaths, but Brown’s successor, Gov. Tina Kotek, revoked his clemency and sent him back to prison.
Fox News’ Michael Lee contributed to this report.
Michael Ruiz is a reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @mikerreports