SHADY COVE, Ore. — A Shady Cove man has been arrested and accused of murdering his roommate and hiding her body in the woods earlier this week, the Jackson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO) confirms. 20-year-old Destiny Anne Finch was believed missing by family and friends.
The suspect in Finch's murder is 21-year-old Shane Ryan Michael Wayman.
On Monday, dispatch received the call from a family member reporting that Finch had been missing from her home in the first block of Brophy Way in Shady Cove. Responding deputies found evidence that an assault had occurred at the home, the Sheriff's Office said.
"Deputies learned that Finch and Wayman had an argument earlier in the day; neither were present at the residence at the time of the missing person report," JCSO said.
Finch reportedly lived with her fiancé at the home on Brophy Way, along with Wayman and another man.
Around 6:15 a.m. on Tuesday morning, detectives with Medford Police reportedly found Wayman walking along Highway 62 near milepost 24, taking him into custody. Minutes later, JCSO detectives found his white 1999 Hyundai Sonata parked along the highway near Prospect Ranger Station.
A few hours later, shortly before noon, detectives found Finch's body in the woods near Highway 227 in Douglas County, just north of the county line.
An autopsy on Finch's body is planned for Wednesday afternoon to confirm the cause and manner of her death. Her family was notified before authorities went public with the information.
Finch's father, Michael, posted on Facebook about her disappearance on Monday. He later updated the post, saying that her body had been found and that someone had confessed to her murder.
"I don't know if I'm ready to talk about her yet . . . " Destiny's mother, Cristi Finch, told NewsWatch 12. "She was my only daughter, my baby girl, and an amazing, beautiful, funny and caring goofball. I will always love her with my whole heart."
Family and friends of Destiny Finch started a GoFundMe page for her memorial fund. There is also a Meal Train page established to help Cristi and Michael Finch through the next several months.
Wayman made his first appearance in court on Tuesday afternoon. When asked by the judge if he wanted an attorney or preferred to make a plea, Wayman promptly said that he wanted to plead guilty to both charges for murder and second degree abuse of a corpse, each felonies. However, a pointed question from the judge appeared to change his demeanor.
"Sir, these are very, very serious matters . . . you're looking at life in prison. Do you want to see counsel before this?" Judge Laura Cromwell asked Wayman.
Wayman hesitated briefly, then agreed to see a court-appointed attorney. He will remain in jail without the possibility of bail, with a grand jury hearing scheduled for November 14. The Jackson County District Attorney's office said that the grand jury outcome will determine the next court date.
A Facebook profile for Malina Nickel, a woman who disappeared from Shady Cove in 2016, lists Shane Wayman as her nephew. Nickel's case remains unsolved nearly three years later. Several neighbors living in the same mobile home park as Finch and Wayman speculated to NewsWatch 12 that Wayman was — in some regard — a witness at the time of his aunt's disappearance.
Lt. Julie Denney with JCSO said that she could not share any details regarding the investigation into Nickel's disappearance or any potential connection to Wayman, and no contemporary public reports regarding Nickel's case make any mention of his name.
Meanwhile, detectives are continuing the investigation into events surrounding Destiny Finch's murder and the disposal of her body along Highway 227.
"Detectives would like to hear from anyone who may have video footage that could assist in the investigation," JCSO said. "They are specifically looking for footage of the following roadways: Highway 62 from mile marker 18 to Highway 230; Highway 227 between Highway 62 and the Douglas County line; Highway 230 between Highway 62 and Highway 138.
"Anyone with video cameras in those areas, or any other information about the case, can call the JCSO tip line at (541) 770-8333."