VANCOUVER, Wash. — A suspected serial killer returned to Clark County, Washington, to be charged with the murder of a teen found dead in the 1970s.
Warren Forrest has been behind bars since 1978, serving a life sentence for his conviction in the 1974 murder of Krista Kay Blake.
But he’s suspected of abducting and killing a total of seven women and girls on both sides of the Columbia River. One of those girls was 17-year-old Martha Morrison, who disappeared from Portland in the summer of 1974.
On Monday, Forrest went before a judge in Vancouver on the murder charge. He had been transported from the state prison in Walla Walla to do so. It was a first appearance, so Forrest did not enter a plea. His arraignment was set for this Friday.
Prosecutors in Clark County recently issued a first-degree murder warrant against Forrest for Morrison’s killing.
Detectives believe Forrest’s first victim was Jamie Rochelle Grissim. She disappeared after going to school in 1971 and has never been found; however, her school ID turned up along remote Doe Valley Road in Clark County.
Hunters found the bodies of Carol Valenzuela and Morrison nearby in 1974.
In an unexpected discovery revealed in 2017, Morrison’s DNA was found on a dart gun that Forrest admitted to using to attack another woman.
Forrest has never admitted to other killings or if he knows where Grissim’s body is hidden. But Grissim’s sister Starr Lara hopes he can now be convinced to reveal what happened to Grissim while being prosecuted for Morrison’s murder.
A woman identifying herself as Lara's friend attended the hearing. Dena Rush shared her hope that Forrest will confess to all he's done, and give details that lead to closure for families.
"I hope these poor families get justice and answers I don’t know if he’ll give them but I hope that’s worked at so these families can finally find their loved ones because they’re finally caught in hell," said Rush.
According to a spokesperson, Clark County detectives are awaiting more test results and interviews, and are not ruling out more charges against Forrest.
On Monday the judge set bail for Forrest at $5 million dollars. But it is a formality; if Forrest bails out he would be returned to state prison to continue serving his life sentence.