2 men, woman indicted in Apache Hightower murder

Apache Hightower's body was found in September

Charles W. Vernon, Jesse A. Lane and Stephanie J. Toney have all been indicted in the muder of Apache Hightower. October 13, 2016, (Mulnomah Co. Sheriff's Office)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Two men and one woman have been indicted in the September murder of a young Portland mother.

Jesse A. Lane, 28, Charles W. Vernon, 29, and Stephanie J. Toney, 20, were identified as the 3 people indicted in the murder of Apache Hightower, according to court records. Her body was found on September 20.

Lane was arrested earlier in the month by Santa Barbara police in California. He was then extradited back to Oregon. Vernon and Toney were also connected with the case, authorities said.

An undated, courtesy photo of Apache Hightower provided September 29, 2016
An undated, courtesy photo of Apache Hightower provided September 29, 2016

Court records state Hightower was a witness to a criminal proceeding, so she was kidnapped, intentionally maimed or tortured and then strangled by both Vernon and Lane.

Lane destroyed clothing, a cell phone, cleaning supplies and other evidence in the case, according to court documents. The purpose of the kidnapping was to terrorize Hightower, and she was strangled on September 20 to conceal the crime of kidnapping, authorities said.

Lane, Vernon and Toney are all accused of helping each other to avoid arrest. According to the Columbia County inmate website, Toney and Vernon were arrested in late September on separate charges.

The three suspects were scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.