Suspect and victim arrested in Christmas Eve stabbing in Centralia

CENTRALIA — Centralia police have arrested both the suspect and the victim in connection with a Christmas Eve 2019 stabbing in Centralia.

According to Centralia Police Chief Greg Dodson, 23-year-old Justin Landreth, of Salem, was arrested Wednesday on charges of armed robbery and aggravated battery for allegedly stabbing 24-year-old Kody Biegeleisen, of Central City, on Christmas Eve.

The Marion County State’s Attorney’s Office, however, released Landreth pending further investigation.

Biegeleisen was subsequently arrested Thursday on a charge of felony disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report about what led to his stabbing. He was released after being given a notice to appear in court.

Dodson says that Biegeleisen reported to police that he had been stabbed near McCord and East Broadway as part of an attempted carjacking. He said a black man wearing a mask stabbed him multiple times when he refused to give him his vehicle.

Dodson says the report triggered a widespread search by the Centralia, Central City and Wamac police departments.

On and off duty officers were involved in trying to locate the suspect, and making contact and stopping citizens in the area.

However, after a two-month investigation that involved cell phone dumps and a search warrant being executed at a Salem address, it was suspected that Biegeleisen was involved in a sex for money/drugs arrangement.

According to Dodson, the female subject involved eventually cooperated with the investigation.

When Biegeleisen met the female, she was accompanied by two male subjects, one of whom was apparently Landreth.

They then allegedly robbed Beigeleisen, with one witness saying Landreth stabbing Biegeleisen multiple times.

The second male subject who was present was picked up Thursday and is reportedly cooperating with police in the investigation.

Dodson says Biegeleisen’s false account of a random carjacking instilled a false sense of fear and trepidation in the community.

He explained that the incident received widespread attention on social media, with its false narrative of a random act of violence at a time when family and friends were gathering for the holiday season and that it was Biegeleisen’s involvement in a criminal transaction lead to his stabbing.

Dodson adds that involvement in criminal activities and with criminals exponentially increases a person’s odds of falling victim to crime.