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The Murder of Jessica Bethany

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CENTRAL POINT, Ore. — A 911 came in early Sunday morning. Police said the call reported a “deceased female.”

Officers were quickly dispatched to an apartment complex on the 700 block of East Pine Street and inside Init 5 is where 32-year-old Jessica Starr Bethany was found dead. Police said her death seemed suspicious and was processed as a crime scene.

Detectives from different agencies including Medford Police Department and Oregon State Police aided in the investigation. That effort led to the arrest of 36-year-old Jeffery Wayne Wheeler.

Neighbors say Bethany and Wheeler had broken up 2 months ago, and after an early Sunday morning argument, Wheeler was last seen dropping off their toddler at a neighbors house.

“Mumbling he’s gotta find his shoes,” recalled one neighbor, “and by the time she can get up and respond to the child sitting at her room there, she looks up she didn’t see him and he goes darting across the street down the alley.”

Central Point Police say Wheeler was a transient, bouncing from Oregon to California.

“Running around the neighborhood during the night, bouncing off the walls drunk and asking people if they can find dope for him,” the neighbor said.

With Bethany gone and Wheeler behind bars, East Pine Street residents say their concern has shifted.

“It about the child now,” said Bethany’s neighbor, “and the loses she has in her life, and we all pray for a bright future for her.”