Woman killed after reported kidnapping was suspect's wife

Ontario kidnapping ends in fatal crash

ONTARIO, Ore. -- A reported kidnapping and police chase ended with a fatal crash Monday morning when the suspect smashed his truck into an SUV on Highway 201.

The driver of the SUV, 38-year-old David Bates of Vale, died in the crash. A woman in the suspect's vehicle, 40-year-old Anita Harmon of Weiser, Idaho, was found dead in the truck after the crash.

Harmon was married to the man suspected of kidnapping her, 49-year-old Anthony Montwheeler of Nampa, Idaho. It was not immediately known if they were separated or divorced.

Ontario Chief of Police Cal Kunz said it has not been determined if Harmon died as a result of the crash or if she was already dead when the crash occurred.

Montwheeler survived the crash. He suffered serious injuries and was transported to an area hospital.

A passenger in the SUV, Jessica Bates, was also taken to a local hospital with serious injuries.

WATCH: Press conference with Malheur County District Attorney's Office, Ontario Police and Oregon State Police

A witness called 911 at about 6:45 a.m. Monday and reported that a man was stabbing a woman in a truck parked outside a convenience store on East Idaho Avenue in Ontario. Police had also received information that a woman was being held against her will inside the truck.

When an Ontario Police officer arrived at the scene, Montwheeler fled the scene in a truck, a Dodge Ram Diesel. Officers chased Montwheeler, following him through the city and then south onto Highway 201.

Once on the highway, Montwheeler crossed the center line and collided head-on with a 2011 Ford Excursion.


Oregon State Police Lt. Mark Duncan would not confirm if weather was a factor in the crash. He did say that the location of the crash -- Highway 201 near the 18th Street intersection -- was extremely icy with 20-degree temperatures and heavy fog.

Harmon's car was found abandoned in the middle of the road by police in Weiser, Idaho. The car has been seized as part of the investigation and is being held for evidence.

Montwheeler was convicted of theft in 2012 and sentenced to two years in prison. The Oregonian reported at the time that he owned a scrap-metal company and underpaid an elderly couple by more than $10,000.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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