Washington man arrested in Portland hotel slaying
PORTLAND — A Washington state man has been arrested in the killing of a 24-year-old woman last month at a Portland hotel, police said.
Tae Bum Yoon, 24, of Bellevue, Washington, was arrested Wednesday at Portland's Union Station. He pleaded not guilty to murder at a brief court appearance Friday before Multnomah County Judge John Wittmayer. Yoon remains behind bars, and his next court appearance is Jan. 20.
Police have described Ashley Renee Benson, of Vancouver, Wash., as a victim of sex trafficking but declined to say whether that was related to her killing. On Friday, police and prosecutors were still mum about the circumstances of her death and what evidence leads them to think Yoon was involved.
Sgt. Pete Simpson said more details will likely emerge next week.
Simpson said there are no other suspects in Benson's death. He said arresting anyone involved in the trafficking of Benson is "not an aspect we're looking at right now."
"The primary focus of this investigation is the homicide," Simpson said. "Certainly, as we do that investigation, if we learn of other criminal behavior by other people, we'll prioritize that accordingly."
Benson's body was found the morning after Christmas in a stairwell of the DoubleTree hotel near the Lloyd Center mall.
Records show Yoon is a native of South Korea and is known by the first name Chris. He was represented by attorney Joe Calhoun.
Benson grew up in the Portland area and had a son. Her father and other relatives sat on the back bench of the courtroom, sobs emerging when the bespectacled Yoon appeared behind a glass partition in jail clothes. After the hearing, the family hustled out of the courthouse without speaking to reporters.