Picture set up, woman says

Christopher Scott Wilson pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Mackenzie Cowell.
Christopher Scott Wilson pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Mackenzie Cowell.

A woman arrested in Tumwater who allegedly impeded the police inquiry into the murder of a Wenatchee-area teenager told police she was photographed while unconscious by the teen’s accused killer, unaware she was lying on carpet stained with the victim's blood.

In an affidavit seeking charges against Tessa Marie Schuyleman, 22, whose Facebook page says she lives in Olympia, police claim the photos show her “posing as a dead person” on the very spot where 17-year-old Mackenzie Cowell’s blood had soaked into the murder suspect’s carpet.

Schuyleman is a friend of murder defendant Christopher Scott Wilson, the 30-year-old man accused of second-degree murder. The 17-year-old Orondo girl was found dead Feb. 13, four days after she disappeared from downtown Wenatchee.

Wilson, Cowell’s fellow student at the Academy of Hair Design in Wenatchee, was arrested and charged in October.

Schuyleman was arrested Wednesday. On Thursday, she posted a percentage of her $29,000 bail and left 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 likely will receive a summons in coming weeks, after prosecutors flesh out possible charges.

A news release from the task force investigating Cowell’s killing said Schuyleman was questioned after the Oct. 6 arrest of Wilson. She 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.

But detectives found “many photos of Schuyleman on computers found in Wilson’s residence. Several of these photos showed Schuyleman sprawled out on the floor of Wilson’s apartment at 119 Okanogan Ave. The location matched that of where the blood stain was found,” the release states.

In interviews with others, police learned that Schuyleman had told her boyfriend “Wilson made her pose in his apartment for that photo and she didn’t know she was lying on the area where the carpet was stained with blood,” according to the document.

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.