PORTLAND, Ore. – A young mother whose disappearance last month on the way back from a wedding in the countryside of Oregon prompted a day long search, do not wander off, but is killed when she left her mother’s moving car, beat her head against the railing and slid down an embankment, a prosecutor said Thursday.
Meighan Cordie the body, hidden at the bottom of the steep slope, was not discovered until some joggers saw it from the road four days after the Aug. 18 incident, the Yamhill County District Attorney Brad Berry said at a news conference.
Cordie’s mother is not charged in her daughter’s death, but was cited for driving while intoxicated and reckless endangerment, he said. She has a court appearance next week.
The announcement includes the first public accounting of a bizarre disappearance that continued to baffle investigators even after Cordie’s body was found.
Search crews scoured the rural area of the agricultural fields for day, believe that Cordie had her mother leaving the car in anger during a fight on the way home from the wedding and ran in the dark only without shoes or her cell phone.
But when this is found, Cordie the body showed signs of blunt force trauma. An autopsy then revealed she had suffered from an aortic separation, probably after her back hit the railing, and also had head injuries, Berry said.
The Oregon Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death an accident.
On Thursday, Berry described a complicated investigation that pieced together clues from the scene — including Cordie found her in the guard rail — mobile phone records, lie-detector tests and interviews with Cordie the 3½-year-old daughter, who was in the car and witnessed the incident.
Cordie’s friend heard her fight with her mother in a gsm call which is a narrow term for the death, Berry said. And a group of Cordie’s mother’s hair was found in the car, Berry said, indicating a violent twist.
The researchers concluded that the death was tragic, but was not a crime, ” he said.
“Every crime consists of elements,” he said of the decision not to charge Cordie mother. “We can prove elements of certain crimes, (but) we can’t prove that all the elements of a single crime. Clearly leaving her daughter there, as we have it right in front of the mass, it is difficult for me to understand that someone would do that — but that does not mean that I have a crime.”
Berry said, Cordie and her mother had a “difficult” relationship and began arguing as they left the wedding.
The mother was drunk and wanted to stay longer, but Cordie wanted to go home because her young daughter was getting tired. Cordie and stepped out of the car once, only to be coaxed back in by her mother.
Cordie then called her boyfriend and asked him to come for her.
Then, the evidence shows, she opened the door and fell or intentionally jumped from the car, Berry said. Cordie young daughter told police her mother was in the back seat at the time.
The mother has not cooperated with the authorities since the taking of an initial polygraph test, and it is unclear whether she realized that her daughter had been killed, Berry said. The results of the test were inconclusive, ” he said.
They told the researchers that they had looked for her daughter in the dark and then went home.
Cordie’s mother has a court appearance next week on her DUI citation.
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