ADDY, Wash. — The search for a 19-year-old Mead woman ended Friday in rural Stevens County, where detectives apparently located the body of Jamie Lynn Drake under the floorboards of a tiny cabin.
The suspect, 20-year-old Kevin Wayne Newland, allegedly led detectives to the site in a late-night drive through the forested back roads northwest of Addy, Wash.
“They said, ‘OK, why are we here?’ He walked over and pulled open the hatch and walked away,'” said Sgt. Dave Reagan of the Spokane County Sheriff’s Department.
The discovery of the body, wrapped in a blue plastic tarp, ended the statewide search for Drake, who disappeared on June 23. Reagan said detectives believe that Drake was killed at her apartment and her body moved to the cabin.
Drake’s family released a statement on Friday thanking law enforcement for their work and urging families “to celebrate what they have.”
“We should all be reminded that life is very precious and we should let all of those around us know how special they are to us,” the family said.
After a statewide alert, Newland was arrested Tuesday in King County when he was found driving the Mustang.
According to a search warrant filed in Spokane County District Court, Newland told one acquaintance that he bought the car in Kennewick, Wash., for $3,200 from someone a guy who just got out of prison; he told a second friend that he bought it in a bar.
The court documents said Newland later told a detective that he bought the car from a man male in Spokane named Jamie, who did not have the car’s title.
Arrested on suspicion of possessing stolen property, Newland was transferred to Spokane on Thursday afternoon. Within hours, he led detectives to the cabin, Reagan said.
“They just kept talking to him and chipping away,” Reagan said.
Stevens County sheriff’s personnel guarded the cabin overnight, as Spokane County officers worked to secure a search warrant.
“We had great teamwork throughout the state,” said Spokane Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, who traveled to the site himself. “It brought this to a very, very short resolution.”
By mid-afternoon on Friday, sheriff’s deputies had finished the recovery at the cabin, which they believe is owned by Newland’s mother. The small red cabin, ringed with white Christmas lights, is on Marble Valley Basin Road.
In Stevens County, Newland has prior convictions for second-degree theft, vehicle prowling and theft of a firearm, according a bench warrant issued on Thursday.
Reagan declined to discuss a possible motive or the cause of death, pending an autopsy.
The Sheriff’s Office said additional charges are expected to be filed against Newland in the coming days.
On Friday, about 70 friends gathered at MEAD Alternative High School, where Drake had graduated in the spring.
“There are a lot of people who were touched by Jamie,” said Dave Vaughn, a counselor at Mead High School. “One person said, ‘If you met Jamie once, you were impacted for life.’ ”
After graduation, Drake moved in with her friend Jordan Sheffield at Deer Run Apartments and was looking toward the future.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the Drake family.