Theresa Wiltse pleads guilty to kidnapping, murdering Kennewick woman

Theresa Wiltse pleads guilty to kidnapping, murdering Kennewick woman

A Connell woman accused of kidnapping and murdering a Kennewick woman pleaded guilty Monday in Benton County.

Theresa Wiltse is facing life in prison without parole for the death of 69-year-old Sandra Harris to death in November 2016. Wiltse formerly worked as a corrections officer at the Washington State Penitentary in Walla Walla.

Harris went missing on Nov. 18. Her body was later found along a road in rural Benton County about two miles east of Interstate 82, according to reports.

Investigators said she was trying to collect a $250,000 ransom for Harris’ safe return.

During a court appearance, she admitted to kidnapping Harris before shooting her to death. Harris’ family was present for her verdict.

“She will receive the maximum sentence, that she will die in prison, as a result of the guilty plea,” Benton County Prosecuting Attorney Andy Miller said.

Her sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 23.