SHADY COVE, Ore. -- The Jackson County Sheriff's Office is looking into a new development in the disappearance of Malina Nickel, apparently tied to evidence recently discovered while investigating the murder of Destiny Finch.
Nickel was reported missing nearly three years ago. She was last seen in Shady Cove on November 23, 2016.
Detectives recently found what they believe to be human remains, according to the Jackson County District Attorney's Office. That along with other evidence leads them to believe they have found Malina Nickel.
The bones are being sent to the Oregon State Police Crime Lab, the DA's office said. Investigators will be working to determine if the bones are in fact human and if DNA testing can positively identify the remains.
The District Attorney's Office says it has filed new charges against Shane Wayman, Malina Nickel's nephew. He now faces two counts of criminal mistreatment in the first degree and one count of abuse of a corpse in the second degree related to the Nickel case. Both of those crimes are class C felonies.
Oregon law has a three-year statute of limitations on class C felony charges — likely placing these new charges on the books just a matter of days before the window closes, given the timing of Nickel's disappearance.
"I'm standing by my Shane, I'm heartbroken on both behalfs," said Chareen Nickel, Malina's mother. Shane Wayman is her grandson. "I'm heartbroken for my daughter and I'm heartbroken for Shane.
"As a Christian it's our duty to forgive everyone, no matter what they did," Chareen continued. "It's not up to us to judge."
Wayman still faces charges in the murder of Destiny Finch. Wayman was arrested earlier this week while detectives were investigating Finch's disappearance from the home they shared in Shady Cove. Investigators soon found evidence of a struggle at the home, before locating Finch's body hidden in the woods just across the Douglas County line.
"My heart goes out to the Nickel family, they have lost a daughter and now a grandson," said Cristi Finch, mother of Destiny Finch. "It has to be so hard for them, to think that someone they love caused them so much devastation.
"I bear them no ill will at all, and will be praying for their healing. I am very happy that they finally have closure, even though it has to be a bittersweet moment for them."
The District Attorney says the investigation into Malina Nickel is ongoing. A statement from the DA's office did not provide any more insight into how or where they discovered the remains, or how precisely they relate to Shane Wayman — beyond the fact that the charges themselves implicate him in contributing to her death and the disposal of her body.
This is a developing story. Stay with Newswatch 12 for updates as more details emerge.
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