Suspects in Newport gold panner’s murder arrested in AZ

Murder charges were filed in Clatsop County

Christian Wilkins and Adeena Copell were arrested in Arizona and face murder charges in Oregon in connection with the death of Howard Vinge. (Clatsop County Sheriff's Office)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Two people face murder charges in connection with the death of 71-year-old Howard Vinge, whose body was found wrapped in material along Hwy 30 on Sept. 30.

Howard Daniel Vinge - Dan to his friends - in an undated DMV picture released October 3, 2016
Howard Daniel Vinge – Dan to his friends – in an undated DMV picture released October 3, 2016

The suspects, 37-year-old Christian Wilkins and 40-year-old Adeena Copell were found driving Vinge’s car in Flagstaff, Arizona. They were arrested in Arizona for Oregon charges of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and held on $150,000 bail.

An extradition hearing is scheduled for October 7.

Investigators believe Wilkins and Copell, both residents of Clatsop County, recently struck up a relationship with the victim, who had lived in the Agate Beach RV Park in Newport for 3 years.

According to a neighbor, Vinge recently allowed a man and woman to live with him there in exchange for help fixing up his motorhome and car.

Investigators believe a man and woman in a black car may have witnessed Wilkins and Copell disposing of Vinge’s body between September 21 and 27. They want those people to contact law enforcement at 503.325.2061.