Two former Umatilla County residents wanted for numerous drug, forgery and identity theft crimes were arrested and charged last month for murdering a Mississippi couple.
The suspects, Roger Gillett, 29, and Lisa Jo Chamberlin, 31, have been charged in the deaths of Vernon Hulett, 34, and Linda Heintzelman, 37, of Hattiesburg, Miss. The bodies were found in a chest freezer more than 1,000 miles away in Russell County, Kan. Gillette and Chamberlin also were charged with five felony drug charges in Kansas related to methamphetamines.
The drug charges possibly tie the murders to Umatilla County, where Chamberlin has two outstanding warrants regarding her January 2003 arrest for possession of meth. When those charges were filed, Chamberlin's address was listed as Russell, Kan., according to court records.
She was convicted of driving while suspended in 1992 and of two speeding violations in 1998 and 2000, all in Umatilla County.
During that time, the Chamberlins lived in Spo-kane and in Pilot Rock.
Gillett, formerly of Pendleton, is wanted in Umatilla County as well, for three counts of conspiracy, 10 counts of first-degree forgery, one count of first-degree theft and theft of identity for a January 2002 incident, according to court records.
The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics has joined Kansas and Mississippi police in the murder case investigation.
Hulett and Heintzelman's bodies were found dismembered and stuffed in a chest freezer on March 29 in an abandoned house eight miles southwest of Luray, Kan. Preliminary autopsy reports indicated Hulett and Heintzelman died as the result of blunt force trauma to the head.
According to the Hattiesburg American newspaper, Hulett's mother, Caroline Hester of Hattiesburg, Gillett and Hulett were cousins who grew up together. Gillett and Chamberlin had been staying with Hulett and Heintzelman in Hattiesburg for a month prior to the killings, Hester said.
It is unclear when the Umatilla County charges against Gillett and Chamberlin will be settled. Umatilla County District Attorney Chris Brauer was not available for comment.