SALEM, Ore. -- A grand jury Wednesday indicted an unemployed high school dropout in the sex slaying of two young women whose bodies were found on the outskirts of Salem within three miles of each other.
Marion County District Attorney Michael Brown, who announced the indictments, refused to say whether there was any link between the two slayings and six other unsolved murders or disappearances of Salem-area women and young girls.
William Scott Smith, 24, an out-of-work truck driver already in custody for making obscene telephone calls, was indicted on two counts of aggravated murder in the slayings of Katherine Iona Redmond, 18, a Willamette University student from Marin County in California, and Rebecca Ann Darling, 21, an employee at a Salem convenience store.
Smith also was charged with sexual assault against Ms. Redmond, who disappeared earlier this month, and rape against Ms. Darling, who was reported missing in February and found dead in a river last month.
A 40-member police task force investigated the slayings.
Ms. Redmond's nude body was found April 11 in a wooded area of east Salem, four days after the freshman from Mill Valley, Calif., was last seen leaving a campus fraternity party. Her car was found about five miles from campus, with the motor running and her purse inside.
Ms. Darling disappeared in February while working an overnight shift at a Circle-K convenience store in Salem. Police found her car parked outside and her purse inside the store. Her body was found last month in the Little Pudding River, about three miles from the area where Ms. Redmond was discovered.
Smith was sentenced to six months in jail Monday, having previously pleaded guilty to making obscene calls to a Salem woman from his parents' Salem home.