Man charged with murder of Salem woman who went missing in March

Tonna Davis. (Crime Stoppers of Oregon)

An Astoria man was charged Tuesday with murder, accused of killing a woman in March who was previously reported as missing in Salem.

The Salem Police Department on Saturday arrested Gustavo Ochoa-Valadez, 35, and booked him into the Marion County Jail Sunday, jail records show.

Ochoa-Valadez was charged in Marion County Circuit Court with two counts of second-degree murder, second-degree conspiracy to commit murder, first- and second-degree kidnapping, first- and second-degree conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and three counts of unlawful use of a weapon with a firearm.

Investigators believe he kidnapped Tonna Davis, 42, with the purpose of physically injuring her and that “a participant in the crime” caused her death on March 29, according to court documents. He is also accused of using or threatening to use a firearm against Davis and two other people.

The Salem Police Department declined to say whether anyone else has been arrested in connection with Davis’s death. Publicly available court records currently don’t provide details about the incident, and the Salem police did not provide more information, citing an ongoing investigation. Marion County Deputy District Attorney Katie Suver, who filed the charges, declined to answer questions about the case because it was still pending.

A Facebook page dedicated to finding Davis first posted about her disappearance May 23, later saying she was staying at a motel because she did not have a permanent residence.

The investigation into Davis’s death came into public view late spring, when the Salem Police Department and Crime Stoppers of Oregon partnered to ask for the public’s help in finding her, saying she was last seen March 27 at the Days Inn by Wyndham Black Bear in Northeast Salem. Crime Stoppers of Oregon offers cash rewards of up to $2,500 for information that leads to an arrest in an unsolved felony crime, according to its website.

Davis was first reported missing April 7, but the Salem Police Department and Crime Stoppers of Oregon did not make a public appeal until June 2.

“We did not issue any formal statement regarding Ms. Davis’ missing person case other than speaking with media outlets who contacted us directly about it,” said Salem Police Lieutenant Treven Upkes.

Ochoa-Valadez is scheduled to appear in court Sept. 16 at the Marion County Court Annex.

Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.

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