Charges modified in murder of missing Portland man

Jessika Atkinson is no longer charged in the murder of Daniel Cohen

Peter Jirasek, Jessika Atkinson, August 10, 2017 (Multnomah County Sheriff's Office)
Peter Jirasek, Jessika Atkinson, August 10, 2017 (Multnomah County Sheriff's Office)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Prosecutors will not charge a 23-year-old woman with murder, but have instead charged her with abuse of a corpse, tampering with physical evidence and hindering the prosecution of her co-defendant, an accused murderer.

Jessika Lynne Atkinson and Peter George Jirasek, 34, will both appear in Multnomah County Circuit Court on Wednesday morning to be arraigned on a grand jury indictment.

According to the newly filed indictment, Jirasek is charged with the murder of Daniel Cohen. Both Atkinson and Jirasek are charged with abuse of a corpse, tampering with physical evidence, hindering prosecution, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and possession of a stolen vehicle.

Jirasek is also separately charged with tampering with a witness in the case, Atkinson.

Portland police say Cohen was reported missing in April 2017.

Detectives believe he was murdered by Jirasek on or around March 29, according to the indictment.

Officials would not comment on the facts surrounding the abuse of a corpse charge, but records show Atkinson and Jirasek “unlawfully and knowingly mutilate[d] a corpse” and that they destroyed evidence in the case.

During the investigation detectives learned that Cohen’s body was located in Lane County. The Oregon State Medical Examiner performed an autopsy on the body and determined the cause of death to be homicidal violence.

It’s also alleged that the two hindered the prosecution by concealing, changing or destroying evidence in the case. Police would not release additional details.

Both remain in custody and the investigation remains open and ongoing.