Man accused of killing Wenatchee student held on $1 million bail


by Associated Press and KING 5 News

Posted on October 7, 2010 at 7:06 AM

Updated Thursday, Oct 7 at 1:53 PM

WENATCHEE, Wash. - The man accused of killing of 17-year-old Wenatchee student Mackenzie Cowell is now being held in jail on $1 million bail.

Police arrested 29-year-old Christopher Scott Wilson of Wenatchee on Wednesday.

Wilson appeared briefly in a Wenatchee courtroom Thursday morning. He is on an investigation hold for 2nd Degree Murder. Wilson  has not been charged as yet, prosecutors have until Monday evening to file formal charges.

Wilson's mother and grandfather were in the court. They would not talk to reporters.

Wilson and Cowell were classmates at a Wenatchee beauty school where Mackenzie was last seen on Feb. 9. Her body was found four days later along the Columbia River at Crescent Bar.

Police say forensic experts at the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab were able to tie the suspect's DNA profile to DNA found on a piece of duct tape recovered from where Cowell’s body was found. Cowell's blood was also found on the piece of duct tape.

Court documents revealed more details on the crime and about Wilson.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, the medical examiner who performed an autopsy on Cowell's body said an attempt was made to amputate Cowell's arm after she died.

The affadavit states detectives began looking at Wilson as a suspect after witnesses described someone matching his description leaving the area where Cowell's car was later found.

The documents said Wilson told detectives during an interview in August that he knew Cowell but did not interact with her. Witnesses, however, told detectives Wilson seemed to have feelings for the victim and had found her attractive.

During a news conference following the court proceeding, Wenatchee Police Captain Doug Jones said those statements would seem to indicate there was a budding relationship between the two.

Wilson has no prior criminal history. Detectives, however, said they've been told by witnesses there were concerns about Wilson. One witness said Wilson had tried to choke a female friend of the witness in August of this year. Other witnesses told detectives that Wilson seemed to have an obsession with death, dead bodies and serial killers.

"I am completely surprised. It never crossed my mind. I never saw him hanging out with McKenzie," said Brooke Broderson, a friend of both Wilson and Cowell. "I am really upset about it. He was at our school and nobody knew about and it is just a shock."

 "He grieved the same way all of us did, just kind of blended in with all of us and he was just as upset as we were it seemed," said Caelyn Wallace, who also knew both the victim and suspect.