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Charges dropped against Oregon woman in California rampage

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SALEM, Oregon — All charges have been dropped against a young Oregon woman arrested in Northern California with a wanted Oregon man after a shooting and kidnapping rocked a small town, authorities said Wednesday.

The Yreka Police Department said in a statement that Aundrea Elizabeth Maes, a 19-year-old from Salem, was not a suspect but a victim. Officer Max Moreno of the Tehama County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday morning that Maes has been released from the county jail.

“I will confirm that we dropped all charges,” California Highway Patrol Officer Ken Reineman said by phone from Red Bluff, California.

Maes had been arrested with Edwin Lara, of Redmond, Oregon, after he led police on a chase exceeding 100 miles per hour (160 kilometers per hour) that began in Red Bluff on Interstate 5. Charges against Lara in California include attempted murder, kidnapping, carjacking and burglary.

Lara was fleeing his home state after being implicated Monday in the disappearance a day earlier of 23-year-old Kaylee Sawyer, of Bend. Lara was charged with murder Tuesday in her death after a body was found.

The mayhem in the former gold-mining town of Yreka started near dawn Tuesday when a man was shot in the stomach at the Super 8 Motel and critically wounded. Five minutes after police got the call about the shooting, another man phoned in from a gas station, saying his car had been taken with his wife and two sons still inside. Yreka Police Chief Brian Bowles said Lara forced one of the man’s sons to drive at gunpoint. The mother and sons were later dropped off along I-5.

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