OSP: Myrtle Creek man shot, killed former La Pine man

Also accused of kidnapping girlfriend, their baby

MYRTLE CREEK, Ore. - A southern Oregon man faces murder, kidnap and other charges in the fatal shooting of a former La Pine man and abduction of his girlfriend and their 10-month-old baby, Oregon State Police reported Saturday.

OSP detectives, part of the Douglas County Major Crimes Team, charged Troy Russell Phelps, 34, with murder, first-degree kidnapping, menacing, felon in possession of a firearm, coercion and second-degree arson, troopers said. Phelps already was in custody at the Douglas County Jail on unrelated probation violations.

Troopers said the crimes allegedly took place on Monday and Tuesday at a location along the South Umpqua River. They said a frantic woman later identified as Kayla Viol, 23, called the sheriff’s office Tuesday morning to report her boyfriend, Brandon Michael, 26, had been shot near the Lawson Bar area of southern Douglas County.

Troopers said the couple recently had moved to Douglas County from the La Pine area.

Several police agencies responded to the area for an extensive search, which found Michael’s body, troopers said. An autopsy conducted Thursday confirmed Michael was shot several times with a small-caliber handgun, allegedly by Phelps.

Investigators said Viol had called police to report she and her baby were abducted by Phelps after her boyfriend was killed, troopers said. Phelps allegedly took the woman and baby to a Myrtle Creek home, OSP reported, but Viol was able to get away and called authorities from a neighboring home.

Troopers said Viol and her child suffered no physical injuries.

Online court records indicate Phelps has a lengthy criminal record, including several theft charges, reckless driving, recklessly endangering another person and a 2015 conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm, all in Douglas County. The most recent arrest was in April on a misdemeanor charge of driving with a suspended or revoked license. 

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