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CCSO: Missing Oregon woman found dead in northern Arizona; Benjamin Mota arrested

Benjamin Mota.jpg
Posted at 5:39 PM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 21:08:46-04

FLAGSTAFF, AZ — A 38-year-old woman from Oregon who was considered to be possibly missing and endangered was found dead in northern Arizona, and a man has been arrested in connection to her death, the Coconino County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) said Wednesday.

In a news release, CCSO identified the woman as Melisa Rose Wheeler, a resident of Oregon.

CCSO said it received information on Tuesday from the Milwaukie Police Department, an area southeast of Portland, Oregon, that Wheeler and a man, later identified as Benjamin Mota, may have been vacationing in the Flagstaff area.

Authorities were able to locate a campsite where the two were believed to have stayed and ultimately found Wheeler's body.

Mota, authorities said, was found in Oregon where he was apparently driving Wheeler's vehicle. He was booked into jail there on unrelated charges.

Due to the investigation, CCSO issued a warrant for Mota's arrest on charges of second-degree murder and will work to have him extradited to Arizona to face charges in her death. He is reportedly being held in Oregon on a $1 million cash bond.

No other details were released.