Walla Walla PD identifies victim, suspect in apparent random killing

Walla Walla PD identifies victim, suspect in apparent random killing
Kyle Martz (Courtesy of Whitman College); Colby Hedman (Courtesy of Baker County Jail)

WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Walla Walla police have named the suspect in a Monday homicide as 23-year-old Colby James Hedman.

Investigators say he’s a suspect in the death of Kyle Jordan Martz, 35, a Walla Walla resident who worked as an international student and scholar advisor at Whitman College.

Police said they do not believe the two knew each other and that the killing appears to have been random. They believe Hedman is currently homeless.

The victim’s roommate called police at 6 p.m. on Monday when she got home and found Martz was missing. She said their home on the 300 block of S. Fourth Ave. was left in disarray and there was “blood all over the place,” the roommate told 911 dispatchers.

Police said they responded to the scene and found Martz’ body. His car was found in Oregon later that day.

At about 11 p.m., Oregon State Police arrested Hedman near Baker City in eastern Oregon. He was arrested for allegedly stealing at least one vehicle and attempting to elude law enforcement. He’s currently lodged at the Baker County Jail.

Whitman College President Kathleen Murray provided the following statement:

I am at a loss for words for how to understand the events of the past 24 hours and the death of our community member Kyle Martz.

Kyle worked at Whitman for the past seven years in a number of roles, most recently as our international student and scholar adviser. Kyle was also a 2007 graduate of Whitman College with a degree in Gender Studies and German Studies. He was a much loved and trusted member of our community and he was especially beloved by our international students. We are providing support services for our students, staff, and faculty during this time and ask that our community be allowed to focus on coming together and supporting one another.

An autopsy will be performed by the Walla Walla County Coroner’s Office to determine the cause.