BEND, Ore. — BEND, Ore. — Urge to Kill is a KGW podcast following the rape and murder of Kaylee Sawyer. After celebrating a bachelorette party in downtown Bend, Oregon in July of 2016, Kaylee disappeared in the middle of the night. The horrific details of her brutal rape and killing shook the residents of the quiet town in the Pacific Northwest. Her murderer would go on to terrorize several other families in a multi-state crime spree. He said he had the “urge to kill.” Our team sat down with all of his victims who were lucky to get out alive.
It was Tuesday, July 26, 2016.
Aundreah Maes sat in a cell at Tehama County Jail in California, waiting to be questioned by detectives.
She had spent the past 12 hours with Edwin Lara, the man who told her he had the "urge to kill" when he raped and killed Kaylee Sawyer in Bend, Oregon. Edwin kidnapped Aundreah several days later outside a Salem, Oregon Dress For Less, and took her on an hours-long crime spree against her will.
Detectives in California arrested Lara after a high-speed chase on I-5. She thought that when Lara was put into cuffs that her nightmare was over. She didn't know that she would be taken into custody. Detectives had to be sure that she was not involved.
"They ended up strip-searching me and completely treating me like I was the criminal," Aundreah said. "I felt 100 percent violated after everything I had just gone through."
The officers took her fingerprints, questioned her and then took her mugshot. We're not including that mugshot here as it has caused Aundreah enormous grief and pain.
"It got to a point at the end of the day, they were like, 'OK, we need to get your mugshot,' I was like, 'Why? I didn’t do anything wrong,'" Aundreah recalled.
While she waits in her cell, police announced to the media they found Edwin Lara with a woman in his car.
For a brief second, Kaylee's mom Juli Van Cleave thought they were talking about her daughter.
"I actually was like, 'It's Kaylee.' You know, I didn't think that he had, you know, taken somebody else. I didn't even think that maybe he had somebody with him. So I thought, well maybe it's Kaylee, maybe he hit her with the car and ran and didn't really know what to do with her," Van Cleave said.
At the same time, detectives from Oregon arrived at the jail, including Sgt. Eric Beckwith to untangle this mystery and finally talk to Edwin face to face.
"It had initially been reported to us that she may be a co-conspirator," Beckwith said of Aundreah. "But it didn't take us too much time to realize that she had been a victim of a crime."
She was quickly released and reunited with her family the next day.
That's where the real work began for Sgt. Beckwith.
"The first thing [Edwin] said to me is that he doesn't need to tell me his name because I already knew who he was," he said. "I was surprised to get an interview with him, just based on his knowledge of the law. I would have anticipated that he would refuse to talk to investigators. But he wanted to tell us what happened to Kaylee."
The interview lasts a whopping 6 hours. We've edited it for time and you can watch a portion of it here:
The detectives read Edwin his Miranda Rights and Consular Rights. Though he had legal status in the United States, Edwin was a Honduran national.
Even though detectives suspected Kaylee was dead, their first goal was to find out where Kaylee's body was. There was a chance she was somewhere clinging to life, waiting to be found.
When they asked Edwin that, his answer was telling.
"I want to tell you where the body is. I do. But I want to get home first," he said, sitting relaxed in a chair opposite of Beckwith and Detective McLaughlin.
Out of nowhere, Edwin asked for a pen and paper to draw a map of where he dumped Kaylee's body. He is let out of his cuffs and scribbles a primitive sort of map.
He described a mailbox with the numbers 18700 on Highway 126 back in Oregon. He said the body was right across the highway from that spot.
Sgt. Beckwith immediately contacted his co-workers back in Oregon who went out to search the area.
He returned to questioning Edwin, who immediately tells them he accidentally hit Kaylee with his patrol vehicle that night on the Central Oregon Community College Campus.
"I didn't even see her, she was wearing all black. I was in a hurry. So it was my fault and I wasn't expecting anybody, you know, at that time of night," Edwin claimed. "I mean, I didn't hit her that hard, I just bumped with the patrol car, with the front rack. She fell down. At first, I thought I killed her, but I didn’t hit her that hard. I got out of the car, and she was really drunk. Then she looks at me and she starts screaming."
Edwin then told police he chocked Kaylee and told her to shut up. He claimed he then put Kaylee in his car, then choked and killed her.
The detectives didn't believe this version of the story but knew they had to keep working on Edwin. They switched tactics to try and get the truth from him. McLaughlin, a pastor, began to appeal to him with his religious beliefs.
Edwin eventually admitted to raping Kaylee, because -- he said -- "she's already dead."
Then Edwin changed his story up again. He claimed he thought Kaylee was a prostitute.
"So, you know, I drove up to her and I'm like, 'Hey, you want a ride somewhere? I can take you there.' So I think she kind of trusted me because of the position," Edwin told detectives. "So she gets in the car in the backseat of course. And then I asked her, 'You said you're a hooker, aren't you?' ... And then she started screaming. The only way I knew she wasn't a hooker was after reading the news reports."
An officer then asked, "So you never hit her with the vehicle?"
"No, I picked her up," Edwin answered.
But Edwin's story was still messy. If he thought Kaylee was a prostitute, why did he put her in the back of the patrol car where the doors locked from the inside and she couldn't get out?
The detectives continued pushing Edwin. Why did he take away her purse?
"She was going to use her phone to call 911," Edwin answered.
"If your intent isn't already there to do some kind of harm or some kind of evil to her, some frigging evil, that's there, bro. That's there. You just got to face it down, man," Sgt. Beckwith said. "You can't cower away from it ... your thought is, 'I've got to keep that phone away from her cause she's going to call them before anything bad's happened.' You've already made a decision."
Edwin simply answered, "I made the decision that time to silence -- to kill her."
Edwin's defenses about Kaylee being a prostitute or accidentally hitting her with the car melt away. Police say he knew he was going to kill Kaylee the moment he laid eyes on her.
"She [thought you were] a police officer. 'Thank God,'" Beckwith said.
"Yup," Edwin responds.
"You use that power to get what you wanted. That's the bottom line,"Beckwith said.
Later, he opened up even more with the police.
In that police interrogation room, Edwin told detectives exactly what he told the Gavimi family when he carjacked them.
"I think all throughout my life I have struggled with an urge to kill," Edwin said.
He then told police he had the urge to kill the uncle of an ex-girlfriend. He didn't say why he didn't go through with it, but he talked about managing his "urges" in the years later.
"What has helped me develop that innocence, was when I married my wife," Edwin explained.
Edwin was then asked by detectives to write a letter to Kaylee's family. He writes one to her dad because he recalled seeing on the news that Jamie Sawyer was desperate to find his daughter. He can be heard crying when he is left alone in the room to write. The letter reads:
"I've been trying to ask Kaylee for forgiveness but I don't think her soul hears my crying because God doesn't allow the Devil to talk to angels. However I know Kaylee hears you, and if you find it in your heart, please ask her to forgive me. Please. I beg you. Please. I know that I will spend the rest of my life asking God to forgive me but I don't think he'll hear me. I'm not sure what your name is but I know for a fact you love your daughter. I read somewhere you were desperately searching for your daughter. I failed you, I failed my community, I failed everyone ... I'm really sorry. I beg you. A man like me doesn't deserve the job I had and I'll never have it again. I'm sorry for wearing the badge. May Kaylee Sawyer rest in peace."
RELATED: Urge to Kill Episode 4: The Chase
Next time on Urge to Kill:
In Episode 6, detectives finally find Kaylee's body. Investigators thought Edwin's confession was rock solid, but they ran into big problems in court.