Deadly Crash along I-80 near Gold Run Investigated as Possible Kidnapping, Homicide

GOLD RUN -- The Placer County Sheriff's Office is investigating a deadly crash along Interstate 80 near Gold Run as a possible kidnapping and homicide.

A Placer County investigation team has been on the scene since around 9 a.m., when a black pickup truck rammed straight into a tree, killing both occupants.

Investigators have information that the crash may not have been an accident. Drivers on the freeway at the time apparently indicated that the driver drove into the tree on purpose.

"Witnesses said the vehicle was traveling in the fast lane on the freeway then suddenly swerved off the road. Didn't appear to be any attempt to brake," said Placer County Sheriff's Lt. Andrew Scott.

In fact, investigators were called to the area just before the wreck occurred.

"We had a report up in the area of Alta that there was a possible kidnapping occurring," said Placer County Sheriff's Lt. Andrew Scott. "Deputies responded to the scene and, as you can see down here, we had a vehicle accident with the involved parties from the scene up in Alta."

Devyn Graham, 23

Placer County Sheriff's investigators identified the driver as 20-year-old Dayton Holden, of Newcastle, and his passenger as 23-year-old Devyn Graham, of Dutch Flat. Family friend Vincenza Mutto says the two were in a relationship at the time of the crash.

"I don't understand what's going on, no one really does. Everyone is freaking out," Mutto told FOX40.

The sheriff's office says witnesses reported Holden forcing Graham into a truck in Alta and drove her west down I-80.

"Anytime you force someone against their will to go from one location to another you can look at kidnapping," Scott said.

Detectives say they will use the physical evidence at the collision site to help them piece together the course of events that led to the deaths.

"She didn't deserve it"

Mutto says she's devastated.

"I didn't think he was a really good guy and she didn't deserve it," Mutto said. "She was a very sweet girl. She was amazing."

Mutto's sister grew up with Graham. She says they were best friends and roommates while living in Long Beach.

"She's broken," Mutto said. "She feels guilty because she wishes there was something she could've done."

Mutto's family says they didn't know much about Graham's boyfriend or their relationship.

"She didn't really bring him around anyone," Mutto told FOX40. "My sister never met him. Friends never met him."

What they do know is Graham was a beautiful young woman inside and out.

"She was never angry. She never had a bad attitude. She was just kind," Mutto said.

What led up to the possible kidnapping is unknown but Mutto wants this to be a warning for women who may be in abusive relationships.

"I know they're scared to ask for help but there's help and you can call someone no matter what," she said.

If it turns out the crash was intentional, it would be investigated as a murder-suicide.

Meanwhile, one lane in the westbound direction was still closed around 4 p.m. and may be throughout the evening as the investigation continues. Drivers were urged to be cautious in the area.

Her family has created a Go Fund Me to help raise money for expenses.

This is a developing story.

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