The state is not proceeding with its murder case against a man arrested in connection with the slaying of a Forest Grove woman, court records indicate.
Kamen Richard Baer, 38, was arrested Thursday, April 19, after detectives from the Forest Grove Police Department executed a search warrant in the 100 block of Southeast 26th Avenue in Hillsboro, on suspicion killing Cynthia Lou Belton, a 54-year-old woman whom Forest Grove police officers discovered dead in her apartment exactly one month prior.
Baer, who is homeless, was booked into the Washington County Jail on a murder charge, according to the jail website.
However, at the request of prosecutors, Washington County Circuit Judge Charles D. Bailey dismissed the charge Friday, April 27.
Andrew Freeman, a spokesman for the Washington County District Attorney's Office, said the charge was dismissed without prejudice, meaning Baer could be charged again at a later date. He declined to go into detail about why prosecutors decided not to proceed at this time.
Belton was found dead in the 2100 block of Hawthorne Street inside her apartment unit. Police said they received reports she had not been seen for several days before officers performing a welfare check discovered her body.
Forest Grove police have declined to offer details publicly about the case, including Belton's cause of death. The death was originally investigated as "suspicious" before police announced last week they believed it was a homicide.
Court records show Baer has a criminal history in Washington County. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor sexual abuse and attempting to commit a felony in 2014.
Baer is still being held at the Washington County Jail on unrelated charges of first-degree sexual abuse. He was arraigned on those charges Monday, April 30.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with the dismissal of the murder charge against the suspect and the suspect's arraignment on unrelated sexual abuse charges.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.