PORTLAND, OR — Detectives knew that they were hunting a dangerous predator when they found a woman’s body in Portland’s Washington Park on June 26, 2012.
The body was naked from the waist down, and the top half was wearing a sweatshirt and completely skeletonized. “She was left like someone put the garbage out,” Portland Police Bureau Detective Molly Daul said.The Wonderland Murders.
“We’ve had a rich history in the northwest of well-known serial killers,” Sergeant Pete Simpson of the Portland Police Bureau said.
Daul began to work to identify her Jane Doe.
“We found blowfly larvae inside her that had not matured yet,” forensic scientist and forensic anthropologist Dr. Nici Vance, who worked the case with Daul, explained. Vance used the insects to determine that the victim had been dead for between seven days and a week and a half — and was aged approximately 15 to 17.
A forensic sketch artist drew a photo of the victim, who had long black hair, and who detectives believed was probably Hispanic.
But Vance was not able to determine a definite cause of death — and Daul was dealt another blow when she found no DNA match to the killer.
On July 10, detectives discovered the body of 32-year-old Nikayla Powell. Powell’s body was lying on her loft-style bed, and blood had soaked through the mattress. Her pants had been removed, and it appeared that she had been strangled. Powell’s dog, vehicle, and wallet were missing.Detectives canvassed the apartment, and several neighbors reported seeing a heavyset man in his forties staying with Powell.
Detective Kristina Coffey of the Portland Police Bureau stated that Powell’s ATM card had been used after her death in Redding, California.
As the investigation into Powell’s death continued, police were finally able to identify their “Jane Doe” via her dental records. The victim was 15-year-old Mayra Cruz Rodriguez, a runaway from Vancouver, Canada, who was headed to San Diego.
Detectives got another break in the case when they learned that Powell had volunteered at Operation Nightwatch, an outreach organization for the homeless. Witnesses at Operation Nightwatch told detectives that both Powell and Rodriguez had been talking to Mark Beebot, a registered sex offender from Redding.
Detectives tracked down Beebout’s ex-girlfriend Amy in Oregon. She said that he had been charming at first, and moved into her residence after only a few days.
But then he became violent and raped her. She told Coffey that she had taken out a restraining order against him.
The U.S. Marshalls apprehended Beebout in Seattle, Washington.
Detectives believe that Beebout had offered Rodriguez a ride before attacking, raping, and killing her in the park.
Shortly after that, they believe that Powell allowed Beebout to move into her apartment.Beebout confessed that he had strangled Powell with his bare hands after getting into an argument with her in the early morning hours of July 4.
He then stated that he picked up his white shoelaces and finished the job.
Once she was dead, Beebout said that he panicked and fled the residence with Powell’s dog.
He revealed that he thought about taking his own life, but was worried about what would happen to the dog.
Beebout entered guilty pleas to two counts of aggravated murder. Under a plea arrangement, Beebout was sentenced to consecutive life sentences for the killings with no possibility of parole.
For more on this case, watch Investigation Discovery’s The Wonderland Murders on ID GO now!
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Main photos: Mayra Rodriguez and Nikayla Powell [Investigation Discovery]