HERMISTON — A Boardman man is facing charges of disposing of the body of a Hermiston man who died of a gunshot wound outside the city in 2020, according to Umatilla County District Attorney Dan Primus.
Hermiston police on May 7 arrested Kevin Ricardo Melendez, 26, with Rachel Cruz, 26, after reports of trespassing. Both had warrants against them.
According to Primus, the charges against Melendez, which a Umatilla County Grand Jury handed up April 29, are related to the shooting death of Jordan Crandall, 28, who was found dead next to an irrigation ditch near Alpine Drive northeast of Hermiston in March 2020. Cruz was wanted on a separate matter, court documents show.
Melendez is not suspected of killing Crandall, Primus said, "but the crimes that are alleged come as a result of the same incident that ultimately ended the life of Jordan Crandall."
The charges in the indictment include robbery, attempted unlawful use of a weapon, second-degree abuse of a corpse, felony conspiracy to unlawfully deliver a Schedule II controlled substance, misdemeanor menacing and third-degree theft. Melendez also faces charges for resisting arrest on May 7.
Primus declined to provide any specific information about the charges in the indictment, but said the Umatilla County Sheriff's Office investigated and determined Melendez was directly involved in the case.
The abuse of a corpse charge is "in this circumstance the dumping of a body and disposing of a body," Primus said.
According to the indictment, Melendez on March 18, 2020 — the same day that Crandall's body was found — threatened Anthony Andrade with a gun while attempting to rob him. The charges also allege Melendez intended to use the gun against Stevie Martinez while delivering fentanyl, a Schedule II controlled substance.
Primus said he did not know how Melendez knew or was connected with Andrade or Martinez, though the indictment shows Martinez is a witness in the case.
Primus said local law enforcement and the district attorney's office are "familiar" with Melendez from previous cases, but declined to provide specifics. Court documents show Melendez has faced a variety of charges over the years, including first-degree manslaughter in 2011, though the charges in that case were dismissed.
Primus said he doesn't expect Melendez to face more charges. He added his arrest is only a part of the ongoing investigation into Crandall's death.