Former prison guard admits to kidnapping, killing woman
YAKIMA, Wash. - A former corrections officer pleaded guilty to kidnapping a grandmother from her home, killing the woman and leaving her body on the side of a rural road.
The Yakima-Herald Republic reports Theresa L. Wiltse's admission Monday came two weeks before she was scheduled to face a jury on charges of aggravated first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping.
The 50-year-old Wiltse will spend the rest of her life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of Sandra Harris.
Court documents say Wiltse kidnapped Sandra Harris from her Kennewick home in November 2016 and demanded that Randy Harris, Sandra's husband of 30 years, pay $250,000 in ransom.
Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller tells KEPR-TV News that Sandra Harris herself made the initial ransom phone call to her husband.
"I think that the uniquely sad part of the case," said Miller, "is that Randy received the initial ransom phone call from his wife and he could tell that she was scared, he could tell that she was in trouble. He went and got the ransom for her."
In later phone calls to Randy Harris, Wiltse used a voice modulator to distort her voice and demanded the ransom money.
Kennewick police set up a sting, nabbing Wiltse when she showed up to collect the money.
Cash, a gun, ammunition and blood were discovered in her rental car, but there was no sign of Harris.
About 48 hours after she went missing, Harris' body was found along Coffin Road in rural Benton County. Authorities said she had been shot to death.