PORTLAND, Ore. – The mother of the 17-year-old boy accused of killing his great-grandmother said she can't believe her son would do such a thing.
"He's not that person. I mean, he's really not," said Joda Cain's mother, who did not want her name used. "He's not perfect. He's spoiled rotten, but, I mean, my god, he would never, ever do that to her. He'd never do that to anybody."
Cain's mother spoke on camera in Kansas City. She said she sent her son to live with his great-grandmother in Portland because he was having issues and getting in trouble.
Cain was a junior at Sunset High School. He’s accused of killing 71-year-old Jacqueline Bell and stealing her car on Saturday.
Cain's mother said Bell bought a plane ticket for Micus D. Ward, Cain's cousin, to fly out on Friday. Bell was killed the day after Ward arrived.
Cain and Ward were taken into custody on Interstate 84 after a high-speed chase Saturday morning. At the same time, Washington County sheriff’s deputies entered Bell’s home to check on her and found her dead body.
The Medical Examiner’s Office said Bell died of "blunt force trauma".
Those who knew Cain said until last year, when he moved to Portland, he spent his summers in Oregon and went to school in Kansas City. Investigators believe Cain and Ward stole Bell’s car and were driving to Kansas City when they were stopped by state troopers.
Other kids who know Cain said they thought he was heading down a dangerous path.
“I’ve known Joda since about the fourth grade,” said Spencer, who didn't want to give his last name. “He told me he was in gangs and kind of like that, but he never directly told me why he came back. But judging by the pictures I’ve seen and stuff he would tweet and post on Facebook, and what he told me, making my best assumption.”
Spencer said he and Joda Cain went to summer camps together for years.
"We went to summer camps at the Sunset Athletic Club all the time together. He's always been really nice to all the people there. You can probably ask anybody. He's never caused trouble as far as I know," said Spencer.
Cain was living with his great-grandmother before her death.
"In Kansas City, maybe he had troubles with gang stuff. That's my best guess. He came here because it's a solid place. His grandma was really nice and everything," Spencer said.
Cain is in the custody of Washington County Juvenile Services. Ward, 19, (mugshot at right) is currently in the Union County Jail in La Grande, Ore.
A grand jury will hear the evidence against Cain and Ward on Monday. The two will be charged with Measure 11 crimes in Washington County, according to Sgt. Bob Ray.
The sheriff’s office has not released a motive in the case.
The sheriff's office previously said that Cain and Ward were friends, but family members told investigators the two are cousins.