UPDATE: Suspect in W. Richland murders, child abduction found deceased after pursuit

By on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2024 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

EUGENE – The Oregon State Police located West Richland murder suspect Elias Huizar Tuesday afternoon driving southbound on Interstate 5 near Eugene at approximately 2:40 p.m. As troopers contacted the suspect vehicle, Huizar was deceased with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

A one-year child, who was the subject of an AMBER Alert issued Monday night, was located uninjured and removed from the vehicle, according to OSP Captain Kyle Kennedy.

Kennedy said troopers near milepost 221 were observing the interstate for the suspect when they located the vehicle. OSP initiated a traffic stop and the suspect vehicle fled southbound. Two troopers engaged in a pursuit with the suspect vehicle at high speeds heading southbound.

There was a minor collision at milepost 209 and the suspect vehicle lost control. An exchange of gunfire occurred prior to the vehicle fleeing again southbound. No known injuries occurred as a result of the gunfire.

Near milepost 197, the suspect crashed into a stopped commercial motor vehicle and stopped in the median. It was here that troopers contacted the victim, found Huizar deceased and rescued the infant from the vehicle.

The events that unfolded near Eugene took place about an hour after authorities held a 2 p.m. news conference at the West Richland Police Department. It was during that news conference Benton County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Eisinger announced a nationwide arrest warrant had been issued for Huizar.

Huizar was charged with first-degree murder of his ex-wife, Amber Rodriguez, 31, on the grounds of Wiley Elementary School in West Richland on Monday. Rodriguez died at the scene. The charges included aggravated circumstances alleging domestic violence, plus a firearm enhancement.

Eisinger said that the time of the murder, Huizar was out on conditions of release on two pending felony matters: third-degree rape of a child and second-degree rape. Huizar’s total bail was $250,000.

On Monday, the West Richland Police Department said that while serving a search warrant at Huizar’s residence, law enforcement discovered a second homicide inside. No further information regarding the second victim has been released.

The Benton County Coroner’s Office said the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab is currently collecting evidence at Huizar’s residence.

“Once they (WSP) are done, our office will be allowed to collect the second victim,” Benton County Chief Deputy Coroner Dennis Morris said.

Autopsies are scheduled for both Rodriguez and the second victim this Friday at the Benton County Coroner’s facility.

Huizar was an ex-officer with the Yakima Police Department who left the department after being disciplined in late 2021. He was also a former substitute teacher with the Richland School District. A timeline of Huizar’s employment at the Richland School District can be found at https://www.facebook.com/richlandschools/.

Photo via West Richland Police Department