WENATCHEE - A woman accused of impeding the police probe into Mackenzie Cowell's murder probably will not face charges this week.
On Thursday afternoon Tessa Marie Schuyleman, 22, bailed out of the Chelan County Regional Justice Center, where she'd been held on suspicion of first-degree rendering criminal assistance and obstructing a public officer. She'd been scheduled for an afternoon appearance in court to face charges.
When she posted a percentage of her $29,000 bail amount, her case was stricken from the Thursday schedule, and prosecutors gained more time to flesh out possible charges.
"I don't think we'll do it this week," said Chelan County Prosecutor Gary Riesen, noting that authorities must charge a suspect in custody within 72 hours of booking.
Now free, Schuyleman can expect a summons from sheriff's deputies to face a judge in coming weeks.
Riesen said he still planned to file a police affidavit of probable cause today, spelling out investigators' reasons for arresting Schuyleman Wednesday night at a home in Tumwater. That affidavit differs from the prosecutor's charging documents, which ask a judge to formally arraign a defendant.
Police claim Schuyleman is a friend of murder defendant Christopher Scott Wilson, the 30-year-old man accused of second-degree murder in the death of Mackenzie Cowell. The 17-year-old Orondo girl was found dead Feb. 13 at Crescent Bar, four days after she disappeared from downtown Wenatchee. Wilson, Cowell's fellow student at the Academy of Hair Design, was arrested and charged in October.
Riesen said the charges sought by police do not claim Schuyleman was an accomplice in Cowell's murder. Rather, investigators believe she impeded their probe after the fact.
A news release from the task force investigating Cowell's killing said Schuyleman was first questioned after the Oct. 6 arrest of Wilson, 30, who's charged with second-degree murder in the case. Evidence implicating Wilson included a blood stain in his apartment made by what police say was Cowell's blood.
Schuyleman at first told police she had "no recollection of the events surrounding Cowell's disappearance and murder in February, and no information regarding Wilson's involvement" in the death, the news release said.
But investigators later found pictures and videos from Wilson's computer and Schuyleman's cell phone that seemed to suggest she'd lied, including a June 26 video from her phone that depicted her "entering Wilson's apartment, moving aside a coffee table in the living room, and focusing the camera on the clearly visible stain lab tests later determined was the dried blood of Mackenzie Cowell," according to the news release.
Another video recorded June 30 allegedly depicts Wilson "asking Schuyleman if the apartment is clean. Schuyleman replies, 'Considering what happen...ing?' At the end of the video, Schuyleman focuses the camera on the location of the rug where the blood stain was later found by investigators. The stain was only slightly discernable indicating it had been cleaned since the first video (four) days prior."
Images from Wilson's computer showed Schuyleman posed on the floor of the apartment as if dead, lying in the same location where the blood stain was found, police said.
Schuyleman maintained online profiles under the names "Alice Madison" and "Mistress Amelia." A Facebook profile listed her as a Wenatchee native residing in Olympia. A related web site, alicemadisonphotographs.com, contained images of a woman believed to be Schuyleman, as well as photos of urban and rural landscapes and macro images.
Rendering criminal assistance in the first degree is a class B felony, with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison if convicted. Obstructing a public officer is a gross misdemeanor, with a maximum one-year sentence.