Meighan Cordie was a 27 year old licensed esthetician who was living in Salem, Oregon. She had a gorgeous 3 year-old daughter, Gia.
Meighan’s dad was the Clackamas Fire Captain, Tony Cordie and her mother was a woman named Jennifer Weathers. Her parents divorced in 2005.
Jennifer, Meighan and Gia had plans to attend a family wedding at Heiser Farms in Dayton, Oregon on August 18, 2018. They argued the day before the wedding about who was going to be the designated driver for the event. Meighan did not want to drive as she wanted to have a few drinks and she had a breathalyzer ignition lock on her vehicle related to a previous DUI . Jennifer’s argument was that Gia might get tired and fussy and that Meighan should drive in case they needed to leave the event early.
It is unclear who ended up driving to the wedding, but both Meighan and Jennifer consumed alcohol during the night. Jennifer was described by one guest as being ‘sloppy drunk.’ Many guests said that Meighan was drinking but did not seem intoxicated. The trio left the wedding when Gia became tired at around 10pm.
While they were walking to the car, Jennifer was overhead to snap at Meighan “I told you this would happen!”
Jennifer began the drive home from the wedding. The two adults argued the entire trip home. The fight escalated so much that Meighan demanded to be let out of the car, 8 miles into the journey. According to Jennifer, she slowed the car to 5mph and Meighan got out from the back seat, where she had been sitting with Gia. Jennifer kept driving for a few minutes before deciding to turn around to find Meighan. She went back to the area but it was dark and there was no sign of her. Jennifer assumed Meighan would find her own way home.
When the next day dawned, and Meighan still hadn’t returned home, Jennifer became worried. She called Yamhill County Dispatch to report Meighan missing.
“I’m sorry. My daughter’s been missing since last night. And I’m getting kind of worried, ’cause she’s supposed to work in 10 minutes and I haven’t heard anything from her. We were at a wedding, and she … was upset and got out of the car, and I haven’t heard from her since. And I haven’t been able to find her. I drove around for 2 hours this morning looking for where she got out of the car, and so I don’t know if I should call 9-1-1 or if I have to wait a certain amount of time. “And she doesn’t have her phone. She didn’t have her phone. She left it in my car. She didn’t have her wallet. Everything was in my car.”
Jennifer was asked if she wanted to report Meighan as a missing person. She replied with ‘Yes, I think so.’
Yamhill County Sheriff started looking for Meighan straight away. Yamhill County Search and Rescue were called in. They provided air and marine patrols. Deputies and hundreds of volunteers, many of whom were professional firefighters associated with Meighan’s father, scoured the area over the next few days, looking for any sign of her dyed blonde hair and floral pantsuit.
Police asked Jennifer to take them back to the spot where Meighan got out of the vehicle. Jennifer admitted she didn’t know exactly where her daughter was last seen. She claimed it was dark and she was not familiar with the area.
She finally identified a location near Grand Island where she thought Meighan may have left the vehicle, according to police reports. She remembered grass on the side of the road, with no street lights. Detectives marked the location with a cone.
When no trace of Meighan could be found, Law Enforcement started to doubt Jennifer’s story. They searched her car and found a clump of human hair in the front seat, which Jennifer admitted that Meighan had pulled out from her head when their fight turned physical. Meighan’s phone and shoes were also found in the front seat. The detectives questioned why her belongings were in the front, when Jennifer had said she was sitting in the back.
Jennifer agreed to take a polygraph test on August 22. When she arrived to take the test, she told police that she had taken muscle relaxers. The test then had to be rescheduled and the results were found to be inconclusive.
“None of it makes sense,” Jennifer said to the polygraph examiner. “I feel like there’s something I don’t remember.”
After discussing the circumstances surrounding Meighan’s disappearance, the detective asked two specific questions.
“Are you lying about your daughter getting out of the car on her own?” The examiner asked. “No,” said Jennifer
“Are you lying about any part of your daughter’s disappearance?”
Jennifer showed erratic and inconsistent physiological responses, wrote the examiner in his report.
“No determination could be made as to whether or not Jennifer was answering the above listed questions truthfully,” wrote Det. Thomas Johnson of the Salem police department. “The results of the test are inconclusive.”
Jennifer agreed when the police asked her to do a follow up test the next day. Later that night, she emailed them to ask to postpone the test. She never rescheduled.
The Yamhill County Sheriff announced on August 22 that their search had been suspended.
On August 23, a group of joggers were passing an embankment just off Highway 18 in Dayton, and they spotted what looked like a female body. The body was clothed in a floral pantsuit and was lying 20 feet from the road, down a steep embankment. Meighan Cordie had been found, 9 miles from where her mother said she was last seen.
The Oregon State Medical Examiner performed Meighan’s autopsy the next day. What they found proved that Jennifer Weathers’ story was not true.
Her feet didn’t show signs of having walked nine miles without shoes. Examiners ruled she had died from blunt force trauma. Two of her vertebrae were broken and she suffered head trauma. But the immediate cause of death had been an aortic separation, which would have caused immediate loss of blood pressure and internal bleeding.
Her injuries were not consistent with having jumped out of a low-speed cruising car or from being hit by a car, Yamhill County District Attorney Brad Berry said. Her injuries indicated that she fell or jumped from a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed.
Police started to put together the events that actually happened in the lead up to Meighan’s death.
They found that Meighan actually left the car TWICE that night. The first time, she got out of the car from the front seat. Her mother convinced her to re-enter the vehicle, and Meighan got into the backseat. This explains why Meighan’s belongings were in the front of the vehicle. Gia was interviewed and police believe that Meighan did leave the car for the final time from the backseat.
Police believe that during another argument, Jennifer either missed their turn off or got lost.
Then on a curved portion of roadway, where vehicles typically accelerate to get onto the highway, it’s believed Meighan opened the back door and either lost her balance or purposely leaped from the car. The police reports indicate Gia described the speed the car was moving when her mom jumped out. A family member explained, as they accelerated onto the freeway, the little girl remarked “this is how fast” Jennifer was going when her mom jumped from the car.
She struck the guardrail and roadway, which killed her instantly, and rolled down the embankment. Evidence does not point to her being pushed from the vehicle.
Jennifer did not turn the vehicle around and look for Meighan, as she had previously stated. She did not call police straight away as she intoxicated.
Police spent weeks trying to figure out if they could charge Jennifer in relation to Meighan’s death. On October 1, 2018, Jennifer was charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants and recklessly endangering another person. It could never be decided if Jennifer intentionally misled detectives, or if she was too drunk to remember.
You can read more about why the prosecution declined to charge Jennifer here.
On February 5, 2019, Jennifer pled guilty to driving under the influence, a misdemeanor. She was sentenced to five days in jail. As part of her plea agreement, she is forbidden to have any contact with Gia. Gia now lives with her biological father.
In an attempt to distance herself from the incident, Jennifer applied to legally change her name to Jennifer C. Jaegar. A judge approved her application on February 21, 2019.
In October 2019, Jennifer’s father filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Jennifer Jaegar. Tony Cordie is seeking $500,000 from Jennifer, who he claims was driving drunk when Meighan died. He faults Jennifer for not stopping the car to search for and help Meighan. The lawsuit is ongoing and updates will be provided as they come to hand.