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Sheriff: Riddle man arrested, charged with murder of Winston woman

(Image via Douglas County Sheriff's Office)
(Image via Douglas County Sheriff's Office)
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UPDATE (7/22/22): "The Oregon State Medical Examiners Office has confirmed the deceased female found in Cow Creek on July 13th is 18-year-old Kendra Marie Hanks of Winston," the Douglas County Sheriff's Office stated Friday afternoon.


ROSEBURG, Ore. - A Riddle man has been arrested in connection with the disappearance and murder of 18-year-old Kendra Hanks of Winston, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office said Thursday evening.

Around 3:30 p.m. Thursday, detectives and investigators from the Douglas County Major Crimes Team contacted 39-year-old Troy Russell Phelps of Riddle at a residence in the 1500-block of Pruner Road in Riddle.

Phelps had become a person of interest in the investigation into the disappearance of Hanks.

Phelps was taken into custody after speaking with detectives.

A search warrant was also executed at the residence where Phelps was residing.

On Wednesday, July 13, at approximately 3:30 p.m., the Sheriff's Office was notified of a deceased person found in Cow Creek around the 9000-block of Cow Creek Road.

"Investigators responded to the scene and confirmed the death of an adult female, which is suspected to be Kendra Hanks," the Sheriff's Office said. "The body was transported to the Oregon State Medical Examiner's Office on Thursday, July 14, 2022. The death was ultimately ruled a homicide. Sheriff's Office is awaiting positive identification from the Oregon State Medical Examiner's Office."

The Sheriff's Office has been and continues to be in communication with Hanks' mother, who is aware of the latest developments in the case, the report said.

Phelps was lodged in the Douglas County Jail on charges of Murder in the First Degree and Resisting Arrest.

Phelps has several misdemeanor and felony charges dating back to 2005. In 2020, he was acquitted of murder charges in the 2017 death of a man on the south Umpqua River.

"Additional details surrounding the investigation will be withheld to protect the integrity of the investigation," DCSO said.

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Anyone with information that would aid investigators is urged to contact the Sheriff's Office at (541) 440-4464, referencing case #22-2871.

The Douglas County Major Crimes Team consists of investigators from the Sheriff's Office, Roseburg Police Department and Oregon State Police working in consultation with the Douglas County District Attorney's Office.
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