BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Whatcom County Jail records show that Darren Dee Oneall, age 62, was booked into the jail on March 1st by Bellingham Police and charged with 2nd-degree murder in Whatcom County Superior Court.
Court records indicate that Oneall is being charged with the 1987 murder of a Bellingham woman whose body has not been found since her disappearance.
A warrant was issued in October 2022 for Oneall’s arrest on the charge. He was located in an Oregon correctional facility where he has been serving a 135-year sentence after being found guilty of 12 crimes, including kidnapping, rape and sodomy.
The Bellingham Police Department (BPD) applied for and received temporary custody of Oneall resulting in his extradition and booking into the Whatcom County Jail.
An affidavit for arrest filed in Whatcom County Superior Court says a BPD officer responded to a residence on H Street after the occupant’s babysitter reported the 29-year-old woman missing after she failed to pick up her child, something out of character for her.
Blood was found under a pillow in the residence prompting a search warrant. More blood was found along with a semen-stained bedsheet.
It was learned the woman had met a male employee at a restaurant on Friday, April 24, 1987, and had arranged to go out on a date. They visited the residence of 1 of her friends until about 1am on Saturday.
The man identified himself as Mike Johnson and had been staying at a homeless shelter in Bellingham. He showed up there on Saturday morning and told staff he had spent the night with a woman and was now moving in with her. He was seen driving away alone in the woman’s car.
The car was logged when it entered the US from Canada on Sunday at about 10pm at the Oroville border crossing, about 125 miles east of Sumas. The car was found abandoned in Eugene, Oregon about 8 hours later.
The car was searched by police and fingerprints lifted which came back to Oneall. Clothing found in the trunk appeared to have dots of blood.
The fingerprints were also found on the job application at the restaurant and shelter staff identified Oneall as the man who went by the name, Mike Johnson.
Oneall was found guilty of stealing the woman’s car in Whatcom County Superior Court in 1989.
In 2015, BPD received a crime laboratory report linking Oneall with the semen stain and blood found in the residence with the missing woman.
In 2020, BPD received another crime laboratory report linking the missing woman with the dots of blood found on the man’s clothing found in the trunk of her car.
As of the date of the affidavit, August 10, 2022, the missing woman’s body had not been found and no one had seen or heard from her since 1987.
Oneall made the FBI’s most wanted fugitive list in June of 1987 as a suspect in the rape and murder of multiple women. In October 1987, Oneall was arrested in Lakeland, Florida, by the Lakeland Police Department on auto theft charges. He was arrested under 1 of his many aliases but when his fingerprints were compared to those on record, he was correctly identified.
Oneall was convicted and sentenced to a 28-year term in Washington state for the 1987 killing of a Pierce County woman. Later in 1990, he was sentenced to 135 more years in Oregon for assaulting a 14-year-old girl in Portland.
As of March 2nd, Oneall remained in custody without the option to post bail pending a preliminary hearing.