A Tennessee man accused of kidnapping and raping a woman in north-central Oregon was arraigned Monday in Gilliam County Circuit Court.
He is being held at the Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facility in The Dalles and is facing charges of first-degree kidnapping, first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, first-degree sexual abuse, unlawful possession of methamphetamine, menacing, unlawful entry into a motor vehicle and interference with making a report, according to court documents.
Cooter is being held on more than $1 million bail, according to court documents.
Gilliam County District Attorney Marion Weatherford summarized the probable cause statement provided to the judge in a phone interview with The Oregonian/OregonLive on Monday.
He said the victim, who is not being identified because The Oregonian/OregonLive does not name victims of suspected sexual crimes, was reportedly driving to Montana when she stopped to rest in her car early Saturday morning. Cooter is suspected of breaking into her car, hitting her and binding her hands and mouth with electrical tape before driving to a remote road along the Columbia River near I-84, Weatherford said.
Cooter used threats to her life and to her dog in order to force sexual contact upon her, leading to rape, Weatherford said.
The car had a flat tire, and as repairs were being attempted, the woman called 911, Weatherford said.
Morrow County and Gilliam County deputies and Oregon State Police officers responded to the call and found the car traveling west on I-84 east of Arlington, according to the state police.
Officers pulled the vehicle over and determined Cooter had assaulted the woman and held her against her will, according to the state police. He and the woman did not know each other, the officers discovered.
Weatherford said evidence will be presented to a grand jury Wednesday. Cooter is scheduled to appear in court Thursday, according to court documents.