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Person of interest in St. Helens homicide case in custody

Jesse Allen Lane, 28, called 'key individual' in homicide of Portland's Apache Rose Hightower

Jesse Allen LaneA 28-year-old man considered a person of interest in the homicide case of a 24-year-old Portland woman was arrested on unrelated charges in California this week.

Jesse Allen Lane, 28, of Jackson County, is being called a person of interest in the homicide of Apache Rose Hightower, whose body was found near Pittsburg Road outside St. Helens last Tuesday, Sept. 20.

Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson confirmed Thursday afternoon that Lane was arrested in Santa Barbara County on unrelated charges, where he remained in custody as of Thursday afternoon.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office and Columbia County Major Crimes Team are calling Lane a “key individual” in the homicide investigation. Lane will likely be extradited back to Oregon for questioning.

Prior to his arrest, investigators served several search warrants throughout Columbia County, including a home on Bishop Creek Road in Deer Island Thursday morning, Dickerson said. Arrests were made as a result of the warrants, but none in connection to the homicide case.

On Monday, the Sheriff's Office put out a call for help to the public, to find Lane. His last known address was in Jackson County, but he had been seen in Portland and the St. Helens area in recent weeks, the release stated.

Lane is a convicted felon with an active warrant for his arrest from the State Parole Board.

On Wednesday, the Sheriff's Office posted video footage of two cars on Old Portland Road, near the Scappoose Marina, filmed round 4:30 a.m. the prior Tuesday, the day Hightower's body was discovered. Investigators are asking for additional information from anyone who may have seen the cars or been in the area around that time. The video can be viewed on the Spotlight's Facebook page.

After Hightower's death was confirmed last week, her father stated publicly via social media that he feared she may have met up with an ex-boyfriend who posed a danger to her.

HIGHTOWERDickerson said Monday that Lane is “rumored” to be an ex-boyfriend of Hightower's from the Medford area.

“Our desire is to find him, interview him, and piece together other information based on our interview,” Dickerson explained.

Lane was arrested in 2013 for robbery at a Motel 6 in Medford, the Mail Tribune reported. In that incident, Lane allegedly robbed a man in a wheelchair who had just won more than $750 after playing video lottery games. Lane reportedly followed the man back to his hotel. He later pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary in that case, court records show.

Lane was arrested again in July of this year for third-degree robbery, first-degree theft, harassment and fourth-degree assault, as well as violating his parole. A trial in that case is set for Nov. 1.

Lane's criminal history in Jackson County dates back a decade, according to court records. In 2006, he was convicted of criminal mischief, convicted again in 2011 for menacing, and a few months later that same year for identity theft. Lane was also convicted in 2012 for providing false information for issuance of a citation or warrant, court records show. He pleaded guilty in 2013 to giving alcohol to a person under 21 the year prior and was convicted that same year of giving false information to a police office and attempting to commit a misdemeanor.