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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news September 15, 2014

9/10/2013 4:51:00 PM
Murder charge filed in disappearance of Kristal Forest
Kristal Forest was last seen in Camp Verde with Robert Reed. He has now been indicted on 26 counts in her disappearance, including murder.
Kristal Forest was last seen in Camp Verde with Robert Reed. He has now been indicted on 26 counts in her disappearance, including murder.

A Camp Verde man long suspected by law enforcement officials in the disappearance of a Cottonwood woman in 2009 was formally charged with her murder this week. Kristal Forest went missing while in the process of moving from Cottonwood to Texas.

Forest was last seen with Robert Reed, aka Charles Olson, who was helping her move. Reed, already in prison for an unrelated crime, now faces a 26-count indictment in her disappearance, including second-degree murder.

A stumbling block in the investigation has always been the fact that Forest's body was never found. As to what finally led the investigation to jump forward to an arrest, detectives are not commenting further on this active investigation.

Kristal Forest, 64 at the time, was last seen in March 2009 in Camp Verde. She was intending to leave the Verde Valley and move to Austin, Texas. But neither she nor her dogs nor her property ever arrived in Texas.

Forest had been seen with Reed around March 28 at the A1 Storage yard on State Route 260 in Camp Verde with her Nissan Pathfinder and a U-Haul trailer. The trailer showed up at a storage yard in Las Cruces, N.M., around 2 a.m. on April 2, 2009, and was photographed by a surveillance camera.

In August 2009, Reed was found in possession of Forest's Pathfinder. He was arrested on unrelated charges and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Though detectives continued to talk to him, Reed did not offer credible information about Forest's whereabouts.

The case turned cold, but lead Detective Doug Brown stayed on the trail for the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office. He was assisted by Cold Case Unit volunteer and retired detective Paul Chastain in coming through leads, conducting searches and interviewing anyone with information.

Detectives continued to work with the Yavapai County Attorney's Office, leading to the indictment. Besides murder, Reed is charged with several counts of fraudulent schemes, vehicle theft, identity theft, forgery and perjury.

Related Stories:
• Sheriff's Office still seeks signs of Kristal Forest
• YCSO still searching for Kristal Forest

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