Forest Grove police arrest woman, 26, for role in 2018 murder
A 26-year-old woman has been arrested in connection with a 2018 murder, the Forest Grove Police Department said Friday, Jan. 10.
Andrea Tijerina was arrested in Hillsboro on Thursday evening, said Mike Hall, spokesman for the Forest Grove Police Department.
Tijerina has been charged with murder and robbery for her connection to the death of 54-year-old Cynthia Belton in April 2018. She was arraigned Friday afternoon in Washington County Circuit Court.
"(Belton) was living at the College Place Apartments when a neighbor called to check on her welfare," police said in a statement. "It was then (that) police discovered her body."
Another suspect, Kamen Baer, was arrested in connection to Belton's death early on in the investigation, but prosecutors later dropped the case without prejudice, meaning Baer could be charged again at a later date.
At the time, the Washington County District Attorney's Office didn't go into detail about why prosecutors didn't want to proceed.
More than a year and a half later, in December 2019, Baer was indicted on a first-degree manslaughter charge in connection with Belton's death, to which he entered a guilty plea, according to court records.
Baer has a criminal history in Washington County, court records show. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor sexual abuse and attempting to commit a felony in 2014.
Baer is being held at the Washington County Jail. Sentencing has been set for Jan. 29, under a court order signed by Washington County Circuit Judge Janelle Factora Wipper.
Court records show Tijerina also has a criminal history in Washington County. In 2018, she pleaded guilty to charges including felon in possession of a firearm, third-degree theft and possession of methamphetamine.
Police have not released details about Belton's cause of death.
When police discovered her body, they investigated the death as "suspicious" before police announced weeks later that it was a homicide. Police initially responded to Belton's apartment after receiving reports that she had not been seen for several days.
Hall said investigators were able to make substantial progress on the case in recent months. He was not familiar with specific details about what led detectives to create new charges in the case, he said.
Stephen Mayer, spokesman for the District Attorney's Office, said he could not provide additional information about the case because it's still ongoing.
The Forest Grove Police were assisted by members from the Washington County Major Crimes Team.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with more information, including details on Kamen Baer's criminal record and guilty plea in December 2019 and responses from the Forest Grove Police Department and Washington County District Attorney's Office.
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