10/20/2014

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Convicted murderer charged with teen's 1990 slaying

ALBANY, Ore. - A man serving life in prison for a 1978 murder now faces charges he killed his 13-year-old stepdaughter in 1990.

John Ackroyd, 63, was arraigned Wednesday on murder charges for the death of Rachanda Leah Pickle. Her body has never been found.

This case has been an ongoing investigation over the past 22 years. The sheriff's office said that advances in technology, electronic databases and unidentified and missing persons databases helped detectives submit a case to the Linn County District Attorney to prosecute Ackroyd for Pickle's murder.

In July 1990, Ackroyd and his wife reported Pickle missing the day after she vanished, the sheriff's office said. They told authorities they believed there was a 24-hour wait time to report a missing person.

Ackroyd told investigators at the time that he and his wife left their home at the Oregon Department of Transportation shops at Santiam Junction early on July 10. He dropped his wife off at work and then drove to his workstation in Bend.

Ackroyd said he left work early and returned home. He said Pickle was home at the time but was gone when he left and returned home later that afternoon.

An extensive search was conducted around the Oregon Department of Transportation facility at Santiam Junction, Hoodoo Ski area and Big Lake areas.

The main search operation lasted several weeks and included many search teams from neighboring counties. Searches of other areas have been made periodically since Rachanda's disappearance, the Linn County Sheriff's Office said.

Ackroyd was convicted of aggravated murder and started serving a life sentence in 1994 for the December 24, 1978, murder of Kaye Turner in Camp Sherman, Oregon. He was arrested Tuesday, April 2, 2013, at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem and brought to Linn County for arraignment on the new murder charges.

Authorities returned Ackroyd to the Oregon State Penitentiary immediately after his arraignment.

His next court appearance is scheduled for May 8, 2013.

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