A man who declared himself to be the lead suspect in the kidnappings of two Oregon girls is facing sexual assault charges after his son's 19-year-old girlfriend accused him of raping her.
Ward Weaver, 39, was being held on $1 million bail and prosecutors said they expect a grand jury to hand up an indictment next week. He was charged with one count of sexual abuse and one count of rape.
Weaver's 19-year-old son, Francis, called 911 to report the alleged rape on Tuesday, and reportedly told dispatchers that his father had confessed to killing the two missing 13-year-old Oregon City girls — Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis — and planned to move to Mexico.
Francis Weaver reportedly said he wanted to turn in his father for killing the two girls.
Though Ward Weaver said last month in an interview with ABC affiliate KATU in Portland that he was investigators' lead suspect in the disappearances of the two girls, police have never named any suspect in the case. Police said on Wednesday that the arrest of Weaver on Tuesday evening had not advanced the investigation into what happened to Ashley and Miranda.
"We haven't developed anything from this investigation that ties into that case," Oregon City police Chief Gordon Huiras said on Wednesday. "[There is] no known connection between our arrest last night of Mr. Weaver and the cases involving Ashley and Miranda."
The family and friends of the two girls said it was hard to see the arrest as being completely unrelated.
"It definitely makes you wonder, if he is capable of doing that, could he be capable of taking our girls?" said Miranda's aunt, Terri Duffey.
Refusing to Comment
Weaver was arrested on Tuesday after a naked woman ran out of his Oregon City home, flagged down a passing motorist and said Weaver had attacked her in his house, Clackamas County sheriff's deputies said. Weaver's house is next door to the apartment complex where both Ashley and Miranda lived before they both disappeared earlier this year.
The woman told police that Weaver had choked and raped her.
Weaver's son called police Tuesday night after learning about the alleged attack on his girlfriend.
According to The Oregonian newspaper, which obtained dispatch summaries that included Francis Weaver's call, the young man declined Wednesday to comment on what he had said to police or on whether he believed his father played any role in the disappearance of the two girls.
Police spent nearly four hours searching the elder Weaver's home on Wednesday, carrying out several bags and boxes of potential evidence. According to The Associated Press, it appeared that investigators took video and still cameras into the house, and they took pictures of the outside of the home and looked in the back yard.
Weaver seemed shocked when he heard that his bail was set at $1 million, as he watched the court proceedings through a video hookup from the jail, but Clackamas County Circuit Court Judge Eve Miller apparently believed Deputy District Attorney Christine Landers' claim that the man was a flight risk.
The prosecutor said Weaver had been planning to go to Mexico before he was arrested Tuesday evening in Portland.
Missing Since Winter
The Oregon City girls have been missing for several months. Ashley disappeared on Jan. 9, and was last seen by her mother as she left for school. Miranda vanished two months later, and like her friend, she was last seen in the morning before school.