PORTLAND, Ore. -- The husband of a Portland woman who disappeared in 2008 pleaded not guilty to her murder in a brief court appearance Wednesday morning.
Brian Charles Cole was arrested in Idaho after Heather Mallory Cole's body was found in the woods by a Forest Service worker near Estacada on June 30.
An affadavit for an arrest warrant obtained Wednesday showed that police gave Heather's parents a cell phone in April, 2010, which was in turn given to Cole to keep their son in contact with his grandparents in the Seattle area. Investigators says it was the first such wire tapped phone ever used in Oregon.
After a night out with friends, Mallory returned to her Southeast Portland apartment to an argument with her husband, 37-year-old Brian Charles Cole, according to police. Cole said at the time Mallory drove off angry and left him and their three-year-old son, River, behind. Days later, Cole begged for the public's help.
The body was found on June 30 in a military style duffle bag in the woods. Inside were also men's style running pants size 32 -- the same as Cole's, a pillow case, half of a cell phone, sunglasses, Heather's Western Culinary Institute uniform and her wallet with identification. A neighbor told police of seeing Cole load a similar bag into a vehicle around the time of her disappearance.
Police said they also found a bent bathroom towel bar, a rubber bath toy and a bath mat. The towel bar was noted as missing in the initial investigation.
Investigators said a secret operation last summer involved Navy SEALs searching for the body unsuccessfully at Detroit Lake.
Cole was being held without bail Wednesday in the Multnomah County jail on a charge of murder after his arrest last month. He was extradited from Idaho and was booked into the jail Tuesday evening. His next court appearance was Aug. 25th.
Detectives later served a search warrant on Heather and Brian's apartment, seizing a computer, receipts, paperwork and Cole's truck. Hours later Cole packed his bags and moved to Sandpoint, Idaho.
He denied having anything to do with the death at the time, but also later admitted he had failed a lie detector test.
Investigators said Cole did not use the tapped phone very often and never made any involvement in Heather's disappearance when he was interviewed in April.
Portland Police and the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office have worked the case since Mallory disappeared.
When reached by phone Mallory's mother said they were surprised by the news of Cole's arrest Thursday, but relieved that Heather had been finally found.
"I knew she was gone," said Jeni Mallory, "so it wasnt a shock of hearing okay your daughter is dead. I knew that already. It's that she's been found. That was just the best thing. I'm just so pleased we will have her soon."
Contacted by KGW via a deputy in his Idaho jail, Cole declined comment.
Portland Police Detective Jim McCausland, in reflecting on the investigation, said he instinctively knew Cole was guilty.
"Now," he said, "I have to prove it."
KGW Reporter Pat Dooris contributed to this report