NBC’s ‘Dateline’ is the channel’s signature newsmagazine, examining real-life cases, ranging from mysteries to powerful documentaries, to bring viewers storytelling at its best. Its extensive archive of in-depth investigative journalism offers us a chance to dive into cases from their inception to their close, helping us understand the dark side of human nature by highlighting what happened and why. So, of course, its episode, ‘Into the Night,’ chronicling the 2016 disappearance and murder of Kaylee Sawyer, along with its subsequent investigations, is no different. And if you’re here curious to know all the details about the same, then you’ve come to the right place.
How Did Kaylee Sawyer Die?
Kaylee Sawyer of Bend, Oregon, was just 23-years-old when she ended up losing her life. On July 23, 2016, she went downtown to attend a close friend’s bachelorette party, calling her boyfriend, Cameron Reimhofer, at around midnight to come and pick her up. While the couple was on their way back to their shared apartment near a community college, they got into an argument, which led to Kaylee walking away into the night upon their return. Cameron texted and called his girlfriend a few times to persuade her to come back, but she refused, and her last message to him was a bone-chilling one-word “Goodbye” before her phone switched off.
At first, Cameron wasn’t worried as Kaylee often preferred to be by herself after a fight to cool off. But once he realized that she never went to her family’s house and even failed to show up for work the next day, he reported her missing. And soon, an extensive search for Kaylee began, yet she was nowhere to be found. On July 26, though, after a confession, Kaylee’s body was discovered on the side of the road near 18700 West Highway 126. An autopsy confirmed that her cause of death was blunt force trauma, with evidence of skull fractures, strangulation, and sexual assault. Her injuries also showed that she had unsuccessfully tried to fight for her life.
Who Killed Kaylee Sawyer?
At first, because of the circumstances surrounding Kaylee Sawyer’s disappearance, suspicion fell on her boyfriend. But his name was cleared on July 25, 2015, once Isabel Ponce-Lara, a new Bend Police Officer, went to the Richmond Police Department to report that her husband had confessed to killing a woman. Isabel said that she had questioned her husband’s, Edwin Enoc Lara’s, strange behavior that morning, after which he broke down. She said that he, a part-time security guard at the Central Oregon Community College, told her that he ran over a woman – Kaylee – in his security vehicle while at work in the early hours of July 24. And then, frantic, he dumped her body far away.
After confessing to his wife, Edwin announced that he had to leave as the woman’s belongings were still in their shed in the garden. He left the house with her 9 mm handgun and drove away, which prompted Isabel to go directly to the police. Over the next nearly 24 hours, Edwin then went on a crime spree stretching from Northwest Oregon to Northern California, destroying the lives of several families. But finally, on July 26, at around 6:40 a.m., while driving down a highway near Redding, California, he dialed 911 himself. He told the operator that he had kidnapped someone else, was wanted for murder, had a gun on him, and was wearing a bulletproof jacket.
Once the authorities caught up with Edwin, he confessed to purposefully killing Kaylee, kidnapping and carjacking another woman, shooting a man in a Californian gas station, and carjacking another family. “So I think all throughout my life I have struggled with somehow the urge to kill,” he said during his interrogation. And once Edwin was looked into, it was evident that he had thought about murder for quite some time, always talking about blunt force trauma deaths and using weapons of opportunity – like he had used a heavy stone for Kaylee. And so, in 2018, Edwin eventually pleaded guilty to the charge of murder, refusing to admit that he brutally raped Kaylee as well.
Read More: Where Is Edwin Lara Now?