Court Commissioner Calls Case Against Centralia Murder Suspect ‘Thin,’ Issues 72-Hour Hold


A 25-year-old Centralia woman arrested as a murder suspect early Wednesday morning will be held at the Lewis County Jail on $150,000 bail through at least Friday afternoon as the state attempts to establish probable cause for charges, a court commissioner ruled Thursday. 

While Lewis County Court Commissioner Paul Strophy found the state’s case against the suspect, Elidey Ojeda Moredo, was “extremely thin in that it’s circumstantial,” he said Thursday there was enough circumstantial evidence to establish “reasonable cause” for a 72-hour hold. 

If the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office cannot establish probable cause for charges within those 72 hours, state law requires that Ojeda Moreno be released. 

Ojeda Moreno was arrested after officers with the Centralia Police Department (CPD) responded to a report of a stabbing at a residence in the 300 block of East Locust Street at 1:30 a.m. on Feb. 22, according to a news release from the police department. 

Ojeda Moreno was the one to make that initial 911 call, according to defense attorney Eric Pilon. She was reportedly still at the scene when officers arrived -– which was one of the primary reasons why she was arrested, according to Pilon. 

“Nobody else was there but her,” Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher said on Thursday. “That places her squarely as the suspect law enforcement are looking at at this point.” 

When officers arrived at the scene Wednesday morning, they reportedly found a male subject who was conscious and breathing but bleeding from the stomach due to apparent stab wounds, according to a news release. 

Ojeda Moreno was reportedly seen trying to clean up blood when officers arrived, according to Meagher. 

Officers began CPR on the subject and continued to render medical aid until emergency medical services arrived, according to the Centralia Police Department. The victim was transported by ambulance to Providence Centralia Hospital, where he was later declared deceased. 

“A homicide investigation was immediately initiated by CPD Detectives. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office assisted in processing the crime scene,” according to the news release. 

An autopsy is pending. The identity of the victim will be released by the Lewis County Coroner’s Office after the autopsy has been completed and his family has been notified.

Ojeda Moreno was booked into the Lewis County Jail at 7:25 a.m. on Feb. 22. 

One reason for Ojeda Moreo’s arrest was her decision to exercise her right to remain silent without an attorney present, both the defense and prosecution stated Thursday. 

“She can’t have it both ways,” Meagher said, explaining that she can’t exercise her right to remain silent and insist she is not a suspect. 

Arguing against using circumstantial evidence to establish probable cause, Pilon said “there’s no indication that she committed any crime.” 

According to Pilon, Ojeda Moreno was cooperative with law enforcement up until they began questioning her as a suspect and she “is cooperating with law enforcement now that she has counsel.” 

Ojeda Moreno has reportedly claimed a second person, who was not present at the scene when law enforcement arrived and who has not been publicly identified, is responsible for the stabbing. 

“She has an attorney, she is willing to work with law enforcement to locate the suspect in this case,” Pilon said. 

As it stood Thursday afternoon, the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office was considering either second-degree murder or rendering criminal assistance charges against Ojeda Moreno, but had not filed charges. 

Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to call the Centralia Police Department at 360-330-7680 or Lewis County Communications at 360-740-1105.