An arrest has been made in the November homicide of Loretta Williams.
According to a press release from the Union County Sheriff’s Office, Ronald D. Lee, 71, was arrested on a charge of murder by the Northeast Oregon Regional SWAT team at 9 a.m. Thursday.
Lee and Williams were married until July 2018, according to court records.
“They were in the process of divorcing,” said Union County Sheriff Boyd Rasmussen.
The investigation into Williams’ murder, which occurred Nov. 17, 2018, in Cove, was a lengthy process, according to the release.
The sheriff said hundreds of hours have been devoted to the investigation, headed by the case’s lead detectives, UCSO Det. Jason McKaig and La Grande Police Department Det. Mike Harris.
“It wasn’t steady, but it was consistent,” Rasmussen said of what he called a “complex and taxing investigation.”
The arrest was made based on an indictment issued by a Union County Grand Jury after an investigation by the Union County Major Crimes Team. The Major Crimes Team consists of members from the Union County Sheriff’s Office, the La Grande Police Department, the Oregon State Police and the Union County District Attorney’s Office.
In November, The Observer reported Williams called 911 to report a man in her backyard at approximately 1:40 a.m. on the 17th. The dispatchers heard her confront the man and then heard a loud noise. Deputies and Troopers arrived within minutes and found Williams dead of one or more apparent gunshot wounds.
Rasmussen said when Williams was talking to dispatchers she told them “she might know who it was.”
Rasmussen said he could not comment on what precipitated the homicide and noted that the investigation is ongoing.