Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office (SMEO) assists Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office in the identification of human skeletal remains discovered in 1981 (Photo) – 04/13/23
On August 21, 1981, the remains of a partial human skull were discovered by private property owners counting trees outside of Sandy, Oregon in Clackamas County. An examination of the remains could only determine that the individual was most probably female and of advanced age. It was immediately noted that an elderly woman named Illya Wilkins had disappeared from “Baunach’s Home for the Aged” off Langensand Road in Sandy, Oregon on August 26, 1976. Ms. Wilkins was known to have memory problems at the time of her disappearance in 1976.
Searches were performed to locate Ms. Wilkins, but she was never found. These remains were long thought to be Illya Wilkins based on circumstantial evidence, but limited resources did not allow additional analysis at the time, and forensic DNA examination did not yet exist. In 2010, Oregon State Forensic Anthropologist Dr. Nici Vance re-analyzed the remains and submitted a sample from the skull to the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification and entered the unidentified profile into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System – NamUs. The sample was processed and yielded a forensic DNA profile for comparison and upload into CODIS. Unfortunately, no genetic associations to missing persons or family reference standards in the CODIS database were established.
In July 2022, the SMEO recognized the effectiveness of investigative genetic genealogy on cold unidentified remains cases and submitted an additional bone sample to Othram Inc., a private DNA lab that specializes in advanced forensic DNA testing. Othram uses an in-house whole genome sequencing technique that can provide genetic information and possible familial associations even with a low-yield sample. Analysis was completed, and the DNA profile was uploaded into both FamilyTreeDNA and GEDmatch databases. Results compared to genetic profiles of numerous family lineages indicated the distinct possibility the remains were, in fact, Ms. Illya “Ella” Wilkins. Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office missing person detectives then reached out to Illya Wilkins’ grandchild, who still lives in Oregon, and collected a DNA sample for confirmation testing. Analysis revealed a 100% probability that the remains of the unidentified female were genetically associated with the grandchild of Illya “Ella” Wilkins, DOB 07/30/1887.
Ms. Ella Wilkins was positively identified by Oregon Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Sean Hurst on April 4, 2023. Her remains have subsequently been released to her remaining family members.
This case is a great example of the power of DNA confirmation testing, and the legitimacy these methods have in resolving unidentified human remains cases. This case had been on the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office “pending resolution” list for over 4 decades. The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office had targeted the case for testing and analysis since 2010. With the power of investigative genetic genealogy, the case was resolved less than one year after innovative DNA testing began.
“It is our distinct honor to provide the family of Illya “Ella” Wilkins some resolution by returning her to her next of kin. Dignity is recovered when remains are no longer anonymous, and Ella Wilkins is now accounted for. The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office will continue our commitment to solve these mystery cases and assist families, no matter how unsolvable they may seem.” -Dr. Nici Vance
“Hope is why we are here”
Families of missing persons can help by uploading their DNA profiles into a secure, open-source website called GEDmatch. Family members can use the DNA data from any completed consumer DNA or genealogy test they have already taken and upload that data onto the GEDMatch website. When users “opt in” for law enforcement searches, the DNA profile becomes a powerful tool to connect unidentified remains and the families of missing persons. Go to www.GEDMatch.com for more information and to upload your DNA data to start searching.”
On Wednesday, April 12, 2023, at approximately 6:25 A.M., the Oregon State Police responded to a single vehicle crash on HWY 97, near milepost 154, in Deschutes County.
The preliminary investigation indicated a grey Jeep Wrangler, operated by Stanley Stephen Smith (54) of Bend, was northbound on HWY 97 when it lost control, left the roadway, and entered a ditch. The Jeep began to roll, the operator was ejected and the vehicle came to rest upside down on top of the operator. First responders initiated emergency medical treatment, however the driver was declared deceased at the scene.
The roadway was impacted for the duration of the on-scene invesigation. The initial indicators point to roadway conditions as a major contributing factor to the crash.
OSP was assisted by the Deschutes County Sheriffs’ Department and ODOT.
On Sunday, April 9, 2023, at approximately 9:39 P.M., the Oregon State Police responded to a three-vehicle crash on Hwy-97, near milepost 102, in Jefferson County.
The preliminary investigation indicated a Chrysler Town & Country, operated by Enrique Santellano Reynoso (53) of Madras, was driving northbound on US-97 when it crossed the centerline and side swiped a southbound Nissan Rogue, operated by Lupe Verbena Galicia (23) of Warm Springs, causing damage to the driver’s side of the Rogue. The Chrysler then crashed head on with a southbound Jeep Wrangler, operated by Dustin Evan Ferren (23) of Madras.
The occupants of the Nissan Rogue were not injured. The driver of the Jeep (Ferren) was life flighted to the hospital with serious injuries. The driver of the Chrysler (Reynoso) was pronounced deceased at the scene.
The cause of the crash is under investigation. The highway was impacted for 3.5 hours while the on-scene investigation was conducted.
OSP was assisted by the Madras Police Department and the Jefferson County Sheriffs’ Office.
On Monday, April 3, 2023, at approximately 2:27 P.M., the Oregon State Police responded to a two-vehicle crash on Hwy-101, near milepost 227, in Coos County.
The preliminary investigation indicated a white Ford Taurus, operated by Kimberly Kay Miller (61) of Lakeside, was northbound on Hwy-101 when it crossed the centerline and crashed head-on into a southbound Silver Chevrolet Tahoe, operated by Joseph Peter Bourell (70) of North Bend.
The operator of the Taurus (Miller) was declared deceased at the scene.
The operator of the Tahoe (Bourell) was transported to the hospital for medical treatment.
OSP was assisted by the Coos County Sheriffs’ Office, Hauser FD, Bay Cities Ambulance, and ODOT.
Critical Incident – Interstate 5 – Marion County
On Monday, April 10, 2023, at approximately 8:42 A.M., an Oregon State Trooper was involved in a critical incident on Interstate 5 northbound, near milepost 254. The incident included an Officer Involved Shooting and a suspect is deceased.
Traffic will be impacted in the area for several hours.
The Marion County Major Crimes team has been activated and Salem PD is the lead investigating agency. All further releases will come from Salem PD or the Marion County District Attorney’s Office.
On April 4, 2023, shortly after 11:00 p.m., Morrow County Sheriff’s Office attempted to perform a traffic stop on a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed on Highway 730. The vehicle attempted to elude the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office deputy into the City of Boardman. The vehicle pursuit continued through the residential areas of Boardman before crashing.
During the incident, a Boardman Police Department officer fired his duty weapon and hit the eluding vehicle.
Oregon State Police were able to finally force the vehicle to stop and the suspect was taken into custody.
The suspect, identified as Gregory Ryan Salverda (52) of Boardman, Oregon, was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries and is in stable condition. There is no further danger to the public.
Per department policy and in accordance with SB 111, the officer involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation by the Morrow/Umatilla County Major Crime Team.
Assisting agencies consisted of the Oregon State Police, Boardman Police Department, Pendleton Police Department, Hermiston Police Department, Milton-Freewater Police Department, Morrow County Sheriff’s Office, Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office, and Morrow County District Attorney’s Office, and the Oregon State Police Crime lab.
OSP Seeking the Public’s Assistance with Information in a Homicide Investigation- Cave Junction- Josephine County (Photo) – 04/05/23
On March 30, 2023, the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office received the report of a missing female, Aleah N. Aaron (25) of Cave Junction. The Oregon State Police Major Crimes Section was contacted and asked to lead the investigation. Investigators later found Ms. Aaron’s deceased body in rural Josephine County near Cave Junction.
On April 2, 2023, investigators arrested Thomas R. Fuertes (35) of O’Brien, Oregon in connection with Ms. Aaron’s death. Fuertes was lodged in the Josephine County Jail on charges of Murder and Abuse of a Corpse.
Due to the ongoing criminal investigation, we are unable to provide further information at this time.
The Oregon State Police seeking the public’s assistance and requesting anyone with information related to the disappearance and murder of Ms. Aaron to please contact the Oregon State Police Southern Command Center at 800-442-2068 or *OSP (*677) from your mobile phone. Reference case #SP23-092940.
On Monday, April 3, 2023, at approximately 7:40 A.M., the Oregon State Police responded to a single vehicle crash on Hwy 38, near milepost 24, in Douglas County.
The preliminary investigation indicated a westbound red Dodge Caravan, operated by Kevin Lee Obrien (66) of Oakland, drifted off the roadway onto the westbound shoulder of Hwy 38, near milepost 24, and into the adjacent ditch. The vehicle continued westbound, striking the earth surrounding a culvert of an intersecting driveway. Scene evidence and witness statements support the vehicle became airborne and began to roll down the shoulder and slow lane before coming to a final uncontrolled rest on the westbound shoulder. The deceased driver was ejected from the vehicle during the crash and located a short distance west of the vehicles final resting position. The operator was declared deceased at the scene.
The roadway remained clear during the investigation. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
OSP was assisted by the Douglas County Sheriffs’ Office, Scottsburg Fire, Lower Umpqua Ambulance, and ODOT.
On Saturday, April 1, 2023, at approximately 12:59 A.M., the Oregon State Police responded to a vehicle versus pedestrian crash on Hwy 212, near milepost 7, in Clackamas County.
The preliminary investigation indicated a black Ford Fusion, operated by Jacob Aaron Paige (32) of Happy Valley, was westbound, near milepost 7, when the operator saw a pedestrian, Christopher Wendell Niiranen (55) of Sheridan, laying in the westbound lane of travel. The driver of the Fusion swerved to avoid hitting the pedestrian, but was unable to avoid a collision and the pedestrian was fatally struck.
The operator of the Ford Fusion remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators. Hwy 212 was closed for approximately 2 hours while Troopers investigated the scene. Dark clothing and roadway lighting are suspected to have contributed to the crash.
OSP was assisted by the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, Clackamas Fire, the Clackamas County Medical Examiner, and ODOT.
On Friday, March 31, 2023, at approximately 8:30 A.M., the Oregon State Police responded to a two-vehicle crash on Hwy 99E, near milepost 32, in Lane County.
The preliminary investigation indicated a white GMC Sierra, operated by Kenneth Clair Tish (53) of Yoncalla, was travelling southbound when for unknown reasons it crossed the center lane line and struck a northbound blue Jeep Cherokee, operated by Nicholas Aaron Tyree (40) of Lebanon, head-on. The GMC operator was transported via ambulance to the Riverbend Hospital. The Jeep operator was pronounced deceased on scene by responding fire/medic personnel.
The roadway was closed for approximately 4.5 hours while the on-scene investigation was conducted. The cause of the crash is under investigation and will be referred to the Lane County District Attorney’s Office.
OSP was assisted by the Lane County District Attorney’s Office, the Lane County Medical Examiner’s Office, Junction City Fire, and ODOT.
On Monday, March 27, 2023, at approximately 10:00 A.M., the Oregon State Police responded to a single vehicle crash on Interstate 84, near milepost 256, in Union County. The crash was not witnessed and was discovered by someone walking near the river who then reported it to law enforcement.
The preliminary investigation indicated a 2013 Chevy Silverado, operated by Aaron Ray Waggoner (47) of Stanfield, failed to negotiate a curve, went off the roadway and became airborne before coming to rest, upside down in a river over 100 feet below the roadway. The operator was located deceased upon arrival.
The involved vehicle had been reported stolen from the City of La Grande (city owned) at approximately 9:00 P.M., March 26, 2023.
The roadway was not impacted during the on-scene investigation.
OSP was assisted by the Union County Sheriff Department, La Grande Fire Department, and ODOT.
On Saturday, March 25, at approximately 1:16 P.M., the Oregon State Police responded to a vehicle versus pedestrian crash on Interstate 84, near milepost 108, in Sherman County.
The preliminary investigation indicated a red 1996 Subaru Legacy and black 2010 Nissan Armada were parked along the shoulder of I-84, near milepost 108, working on the disabled Subaru. The pedestrian, Michael Beauford Baysinger (69) of Kennewick (WA), was standing at the partially opened driver’s door of the black Nissan when a white 2020 Freightliner semi-truck with double trailers, operated by Robert Maxwell Service (29) of Gresham, passed in the righthand lane. The Freightliner struck the partially ajar driver’s door of the black Nissan and the pedestrian. The pedestrian was killed as a result of the collision.
The roadway was impacted for several hours during the on-scene investigation. The CMV operator was cooperative during the investigation
OSP was assisted by Sherman County Fire and Rescue and ODOT.
On Monday, March 27, at approximately 6:47 P.M., the Oregon State Police responded to a two-vehicle crash on Hwy 101, near milepost 30, in Clatsop County.
The preliminary investigation indicated a Toyota Corolla, operated by Maria Guadalupe Nolazco Luna (20) of Cannon Beach, was southbound on Highway 101, near mile post 30, at the intersection with Sunset Boulevard. While making a left turn onto Sunset Boulevard, the sedan was struck on the passenger side by a northbound Dodge Ram 2500, operated by Jeffre Cottrell (41) of Rock Springs (WY). The operator of the Toyota declined medical transport from the scene and the operator of the Dodge was reportedly uninjured.
A passenger in the Toyota, a male juvenile (12), was transported to a local hospital where he later died of his injuries.
The highway was impacted for approximately 4 hours during the on-scene investigation. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
OSP was assisted by the Cannon Beach Fire Department, Seaside Fire Department, Cannon Beach Police Department and ODOT.
Traffic Stop Leads to DUII and seizure of suspected Psilocybin Mushrooms-Yamhill County (Photo) – 03/28/23
On March 21, 2023, an Oregon State Police Trooper stopped a vehicle for speeding, driving 86 mph in a 55mph zone, on Highway 18 near milepost 31. The driver displayed signs of impairment, so the Trooper performed SFSTs. The driver performed poorly and was arrested for DUII.
While searching the vehicle for evidence of the DUII, the Trooper located 292 grams of suspected psilocybin mushrooms, along with multiple firearms, and a scale. The driver was transported to the Willamette Valley Medical Center where a blood/urine search warrant was applied for, granted, and executed before the driver was cited and released.
Additional commercial drug offense charges will be referred to the Yamhill County District Attorney’s Office pending a controlled substance analysis.
Lengthy poaching case ends with conviction- Douglas County (Photo) – 03/28/23
On March 17, 2023, Albert Lampert (69) of Glendale was found guilty of 21 misdemeanor charges relating to criminal trespassing and wildlife violations in Douglas County Circuit Court. He was convicted by a jury of his peers after a 3-day trial. The charges stemmed from an elk decoy operation that occurred in November 2020 by OSP Fish & Wildlife Troopers from the Roseburg and Coos Bay Area Commands. The investigation was concluded in January 2020 with a search warrant being served at Mr. Lampert’s residence.
On March 23, 2023, Albert Lampert was sentenced in the Douglas County Circuit Court and immediately remanded to jail for 30 days. Additionally, he received five years of probation where he cannot be hunting, in the woods with a centerfire rifle, or be with anyone who is hunting. The penalty for violating his probation is six months of additional jail time. Mr. Lampert was also fined $2100, received a 3-year hunting license suspension, and forfeited his rifle.
***Report Wildlife and Habitat Law Violators***
The Turn in Poachers (TIP) program offers preference points or cash rewards for information leading to an arrest or issuance of a citation, to a suspect, for the unlawful killing of wildlife, and or waste of big game. Cash rewards can also be awarded for turning in people who destroy habitat, illegally obtain licenses/tags, and for unlawful lending/borrowing of big game tags. Learn more: https://www.oregon.gov/osp/programs/fw/Pages/tip.aspx
The Stop Poaching Campaign educates the public on how to recognize and report poaching. This campaign is a collaboration among state agencies, sportsmen, and other conservationists, landowners, and recreationists to engage the public in combatting Oregon’s poaching problem. Our goal is to: Incentivize reporting on wildlife crimes through the TIP Line; Strengthen enforcement by increasing the number of OSP Fish and Wildlife Troopers, and Support prosecution in becoming an effective deterrent. The campaign helps to protect and enhance Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitat for the enjoyment of present and future generations.
Campaign Sponsors include Oregon State Police, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon State Marine Board, Oregon Hunters Association, Oregon Wildlife Coalition, and Oregon Outfitters & Guides Association.
Report a Wildlife or Habitat Law Violation or Suspicious Activity- Dial 1-800-452-7888 or *OSP (*677) from a mobile phone or via email at TIP@osp.oregon.gov
OSP Traffic Stop Leads to Drug Seizure- Deschutes County (Photo) – 03/27/23
On March 21, 2023, at approximately 2:30 PM, an Oregon State Police Senior Trooper stopped a 2015 Nissan Altima for a vehicle equipment violation and for failure of a slower-moving vehicle to yield to overtaking vehicle, on northbound US 97 near milepost 161, in Deschutes County. During the traffic stop, the Senior Trooper noticed signs of criminal activity.
An OSP narcotics detection canine was applied to the vehicle and alerted to the presence of a narcotic odor coming from the vehicle. A search of the vehicle was conducted. The Senior Trooper located approximately 36 pounds of suspected methamphetamine, and approximately two pounds of suspected heroin, which were concealed within the vehicle.
The driver identified as Anabel Torres (38), of Sunnyside, Washington, and the passenger identified as Audel Torres Perez, (38), of Sunnyside, Washington, were interviewed and released pending referred charges.
OSP Troopers were assisted during the investigation by Oregon State Police detectives assigned to the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement (CODE) team, Oregon State Police Southwest Region Marijuana Team, and the OSP-Criminal Investigations Division-Drug Enforcement Section (Domestic Highway Enforcement Initiative).
The Oregon State Police-Domestic Highway Enforcement Initiative is supported by the Oregon-Idaho High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA).
The Oregon-Idaho HIDTA program is an Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) sponsored counterdrug grant program that coordinates with and provides funding resources to multi-agency drug enforcement initiatives, including the OSP-DHE Initiative.
On Friday, March 24, 2023, at approximately 5:58 A.M., the Oregon State Police responded to a two vehicle crash on Interstate 5 (southbound), near milepost 166, in Douglas County.
The preliminary investigation indicated a Freightliner CMV and semi-trailer, operated by Joel Lockhart (29) of White City (OR), was southbound and lost control striking the center barrier where it came to rest. A Nissan Murano, operated by Karen Sweesy (46) of Monroe (WA), was southbound and came upon the disabled CMV and semi-trailer. The Nissan crashed into the left rear corner of the semi-trailer. Sweesy was pronounced deceased at the scene by EMS.
A passenger in the Nissan, Shari Landerville (59) of Monroe (WA), received serious injuries and was taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center at Riverbend. The operator of the CMV was uninjured.
The highway was impacted for approximately 2.5 hours while the on-scene investigation was conducted.
OSP was assisted by North Douglas Fire & EMS, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Cottage Grove PD, and ODOT.
On Thursday, March 23, 2023, at approximately 12:36 P.M., the Oregon State Police responded to a single vehicle crash on Hwy 138W, near milepost 19, in Douglas County.
The preliminary investigation indicated an International Box Truck, operated by Jose Cortez Hurtado (68) of Salem, was eastbound on Hwy 138W, when for unknown reasons, it went across the roadway and partially onto the westbound shoulder. The truck veered back across the roadway and onto the eastbound shoulder where it crashed into a tree. Hurtado was pronounced deceased at the scene by first responders.
The highway remained open during the on-scene crash investigation.
OSP was assisted by Sutherlin Fire, Kellogg Fire, Umpqua Valley Ambulance, ODOT, and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Medical Examiner.
On Tuesday, March 21, 2023, the Oregon State Police Major Crimes Section and the Linn County Major Crimes Team responded to Linn County to investigate an officer involved shooting.
At approximately 2 P.M., Linn County Deputies responded to the area of Cascadia to investigate a reported disturbance. Upon arrival at the reported location, Deputies confronted an armed male and the incident resulted in two Deputies discharging their duty weapons. Deputies rendered emergency medical aid to the suspect, Noah David Colgrove (30) of Sweet Home, however he was declared deceased at the scene. The Deputies were uninjured during the incident.
The Deputies involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave; per agency policy and practice.
At this time, no further information is available for release. This is on-going investigation and future updates will come from the Oregon State Police or the Linn County District Attorney’s Office.
On Monday, March 20, 2023, at approximately 7:45 A.M., the Oregon State Police responded to a single vehicle crash on Hwy 97, near milepost 151, in Deschutes County.
The preliminary investigation indicated a 2005 Toyota 4Runner, operated by Leland Daniel Angier (31) of Bend, was traveling northbound on Hwy 97, near MP 151, when it lost control on icy road conditions, slid off the roadway and rolled several times before coming to a stop. The single occupant of the vehicle was declared deceased at the scene.
The roadway was impacted for approximately 4 hours during the on-scene investigation of the crash.
OSP was assisted by the Deschutes County Sheriffs’ Office, Sunriver PD, Sunriver Fire, and ODOT.
On Saturday, March 18, 2023, at approximately 3:05 P.M., the Oregon State Police responded to a single vehicle crash on Interstate 5, near milepost 210, in Linn County.
The preliminary investigation indicated a 2022 Freightliner (CMV) and trailer, operated by Branden Hamilton (50) of Buffalo (NY), went off the roadway and impacted the guardrail and bridge cement barrier on Interstate-5 southbound, near milepost 210. Hamilton was pronounced deceased at the scene from injuries sustained in the crash.
The highway was closed for approximately 6 hours during the on-scene investigation. The cause of the crash is unknown, however investigators believe the operator may have suffered a medical event prior to the crash.
OSP was assisted by the Halsey/Shedd Fire Department and ODOT.
On Wednesday, March 15, 2023, at approximately 3:28 P.M., the Oregon State Police responded to a two-vehicle crash on Hwy-101, near milepost 152, in Lincoln County.
The preliminary investigation indicated a white Subaru Impreza WRX, operated by Ashlee Christine Hayden (32) of Tidewater, was southbound when, for an unknown reason, it crossed into the northbound lane and struck a white Chevy box truck, operated by Victor Loreza (40) of Salem, head on.
The operator of the Subaru was declared deceased at the scene.
The Chevy box truck operator and two passengers, Jose Soto Hernandez (38) of Salem and Jesus Vargas Gerardo (40) of Salem, were all transported to hospitals with serious injuries.
The highway was closed for approximately 5 hours while the on-scene investigation was conducted.
OSP was assisted by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Central Coast Fire Department, Seal Rock Fire Department, ODOT and Life Flight.
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