A probable cause statement filed Monday reported Jeremy Leininger, the suspect in the death of a man whose body was found in the Coweeman River near Kelso, worked with the victim, was the person last seen with him, and suspected the victim had stolen his belongings.
Leininger, 20, of Castle Rock was arrested Friday night as the suspect in the first-degree murder case, but has not been charged. Several witnesses reported last seeing the victim — 53-year-old Clark Calquhoun of Rainier, Wash. — with Leininger. A neighbor also believed Leininger thought Calquhoun stole belongings from his truck, according to the probable cause statement by the Thurston County deputy prosecuting attorney.
Calquhoun’s body was recovered late January in the Coweeman River near River Valley Road, 15 miles west of Kelso.
Calquhoun and Leininger both worked as ranch hands on the same property, according to the probable cause statement. Calquhoun’s girlfriend, Tina Inman, and other witnesses reported seeing the two men together on Dec. 28, which was also the last time Calquhoun was seen alive.
Inman called the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office to report him missing on Dec. 31. Three days earlier, Leininger approached Calquhoun and asked if Calquhoun could help him feed some cattle and address fencing, witnesses told a Thurston County deputy. Calquhoun agreed and stayed to help Leininger on the property, while Inman and other witnesses left.
Inman said she returned to their trailer later that night and Calquhoun was not there. In the morning she found his personal items that he would not have left behind, she told the deputy.
Inman spoke to Leininger two days after reporting Calquhoun missing, and he told her he last saw Calquhoun walking to the front gate. Several witnesses doubted Leininger’s account. Inman said the mile-long walk would be difficult for Calquhoun, who had physical problems with his legs, according to deputies.
On Jan. 5, detectives said they contacted Leininger, who denied any knowledge of the victim’s whereabouts but seemed nervous. About a month later, detectives searched Leininger’s residence in Kelso and found .45 caliber ammunition and a holster with a missing firearm. Leininger’s mother said she had reported the firearm missing in September.
Cowlitz County detectives later said two witnesses told them Leininger had been involved in Calquhoun’s disappearance.
The probable cause statement reported Calquhoun had been shot at least two times with a .45 caliber gun and may have been stabbed. Authorities declined to confirm or release more information pending investigation.
Leininger’s court hearing or arraignment is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Feb. 28, and bail is set at $2.5 million.