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Anonymous Tipper Tells Police that Murdered Washington Woman was Killed by Her Husband's Hired Prison Buddy.


James and Lindy Rummell

Almost everyone knows that when a person is murdered, the usual suspect is their spouse, partner or another family member. It's not rare that the assailant is someone they've never met or come in contact with however, detectives always search those closest to the deceased first.


In the case of Lindy Rummell, the old suspicion was right again.


Rummell, 60, was fatally shot inside her Bush Prairie home, in Clark County, Washington, was “staged” to look like an interrupted burglary, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.


Deputies found Lindy Rummell dead about 7 p.m. Saturday in the couple’s rural home off Northeast 119th Street near 182nd Avenue.


James Rummell, her husband, told deputies he had returned home and discovered his wife dead and their Ford F-150 missing, according to the sheriff’s office. Investigators put out an all-points bulletin looking for the truck.


Their Ford F-150 from this incident was recovered in a rural part of Benton County, Oregon. The vehicle was damaged by fire, which appears likely to have been intentionally set to destroy evidence of the murder.


At a standstill with destroyed evidence, authorities looked to the public for help and that is exactly what they got.


An anonymous tipster reached out to them to say they had recently picked up a man who had been driving the Rummell's Ford F-150. The caller said that he had picked up a man named Darrell Riley from a city just northeast of Eugene, Oregon. When he pulled up to get Riley, he saw Riley remove two guns and a few other random items from the truck then set it on fire. But, that wasn't all.


James L. Rummell, 49, appears Monday in Clark County District Court (Becca Robbins/The Columbian)

The caller said that Riley told him he had been hired to kill a woman and described the number of times he shot her and the caliber of the weapon he used — which matched a weapon found at the Rummell home. Riley, 55, also told the tipster he staged the murder to look like a robbery, and the items he took out of the truck were things he stole from the house.


Acccording to the affidavit, Riley told the tipster that Rummell first approached him about 10 months earlier with a plan to kill his wife, promising him $35,000 from Lindy Rummell’s life insurance.


When approached with this new information, James Rummell first denied knowing Riley but later said that he did bring Riley back to Clark County, where the Rummells live, but dropped him off and thought he was taking public transportation back home. Rummell told investigators he met Riley while serving a prison sentence for kidnapping and robbery and that he had no idea he planned to kill his wife. He initially said he hadn’t seen Riley since last summer, but changed his story when police produced evidence he had been to Eugene the day before the murder.


“(James Rummell’s) failure to provide accurate and timely information regarding contact with (Riley) on (Saturday) hindered an active homicide investigation and delayed law enforcement’s response in identifying and locating (Riley),” the affidavit states.


James Rummell was booked into the Clark County Jail for Making False Statements to a Public Servant. Rummell had no significant criminal record in Washington, records show. He was convicted of first-degree theft and second-degree kidnapping in Clatsop County in Oregon in 2000 and sentenced to five years and 10 months in state prison, records show.


Riley had been arrested nearly 20 times since the late 1980s in Lane County, records show, including for second-degree assault, first-degree theft, unlawful use of a vehicle and first-degree burglary. He was most recently sentenced to 31 days in jail in 2021 for attempting to elude a Springfield police officer during a traffic stop. Officers found methamphetamine in his pocket during the incident, according to an affidavit.


Riley will remain in custody pending extradition to Washington, authorities said.

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