MEDFORD, Ore. — A Shady Cove man accused of murdering his roommate has now been formally charged in connection with the death of his aunt, Malina Nickel. A grand jury made the decision in a Jackson County court on Wednesday.
Nickel disappeared from the Shady Cove area three years ago. Though investigators found her vehicle abandoned near the Trail post office and received reports that a man was seen leaving the scene, the case went cold.
Law enforcement arrested 21-year-old Shane Wayman for the murder of Destiny Finch last week. Since then, the Jackson County District Attorney's Office has reported new developments in Nickel's case — including the discovery of human remains believed to be hers.
On Wednesday a grand jury returned a "true bill," allowing prosecutors to move ahead with charges for two counts of criminal mistreatment in the first degree and one count of abuse of a corpse in the second degree against Wayman.
In spite of the charges, investigators have not publicly provided a narrative describing what they believe happened to Nickel. The criminal mistreatment charges allege that Wayman, "having assumed the care, custody, and responsibility for the supervision of Malina Nickel, did . . . withhold necessary and adequate physical care."
"The defendant, on or about November 23, 2016 . . . did unlawfully and intentionally abuse a corpse," the third count reads.
The DA's Office said that grand jurors heard from Lieutenant Scott Waldon, Detective David Seese, and State Forensic Anthropologist Dr. Nici Vance. Dr. Vance reportedly examined the recovered remains and "found them to be human, most likely those of a female."
"Additional testing will be performed by the Oregon State Police Crime Lab to determine through DNA testing if the remains can be further identified," the DA's Office said.
The court will be setting an arraignment hearing for Wayman in the Nickel case soon. Wayman still faces charges for murder in the second degree and abuse of a corpse in the second degree for Finch's killing.
According to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, Wayman hid Finch's body in the woods just across the Douglas County line along Highway 227.