WALLA WALLA:  Homicide victim was Whitman College advisor

WALLA WALLA: Homicide victim was Whitman College advisor

Court documents state the Heppner man arrested on suspicion of murdering a Walla Walla man confessed to police.

According to the certificate of probable cause, Walla Walla police detectives met with Oregon State Patrol detectives in Baker City after Colby James Hedman, 23, of Heppner, was arrested. During that meeting, Hedman confessed he killed Kyle Jordan Martz, 35, of Walla Walla with an ax hitting him multiple times. Hedman did not give further details but said Martz was still on the property.

A cooler containing what appeared to be dismembered human remains were located at a home on the 300 block of South Fourth Avenue after a roommate notified WWPD Monday night that Martz was missing under suspicious circumstances.

The residence was reportedly in disarray with apparent blood on various surfaces along with a strong smell of bleach. Two coolers that were on the porch were missing and the detached garage, which had not been locked in the past, was now locked.

The roommate also reported to WWPD that a square shovel, hammer, and ax with apparent blood was laying on the ground in the yard between the house and garage. Martz’s vehicle was also gone.

Due to the circumstances, officers cut the lock off the detached garage, entered and found various garbage bags and the two coolers that were on the porch. According to court documents, one cooler had the lid open and was covered by a blanket. The other had the lid shut. Officers lifted the blanket that was on the open cooler. There was apparent blood around the upper edge of the cooler was what appeared to be dismembered human remains. Officers exited the garage and secured the scene.

While investigating Martz’s residence, officers noted a person entering the window of an adjoining house and contacted that person and another who was inside the house. Officers learned the house was vacant, but that the two people had permission to be there. Both of them were taken to the Walla Walla Police Department to be interviewed.

Detectives learned from the interview that they both saw Martz Sunday at about 10 p.m. on the back porch of his residence. Both stated an unknown male dressed in a red shirt was at the residence Monday who borrowed an ax and shovel from them. The unknown male had been dressed differently earlier in the day when they first saw him and said he had some work to do and needed the tools. They all smoked some marijuana on the porch with the unknown male, then about an hour later saw the unknown male driving Martz’s truck.

Detectives pinged Martz’s phone and it returned a location around North Powder, Oregon. Law enforcement in Oregon was notified and Martz’s truck was located in Baker City.

Court documents state a man dressed in a red shirt was leaving the truck and was taken into custody, that male was identified as Colby James Hedman.

According to Walla Walla County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Nagle, a warrant, information, and certificate of probable cause were filed Wednesday afternoon in Walla Walla County Superior Court. Hedman is charged with murder in the first degree and theft of a motor vehicle in Walla Walla County.

“Walla Walla County cannot obtain custody of him (Hedman) until Oregon is done with their charges,” Nagle said. “He is facing charges of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and eluding a police vehicle in Baker County Circuit Court. Mr. Hedman was arraigned today. Judge set bail at $100,000 full bail.”

Until the Oregon case is completed, Nagle said Walla Walla County has no court dates set.

Martz worked at Whitman College where he served as the International Student and Scholar Advisor in the Intercultural Center. He graduated from Whitman with a degree in German Studies and Gender Studies, after which he spent several years teaching abroad.

Colby James Hedman