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Seized Fentanyl powder
Seized Fentanyl powder
Traffic stop leads to seizure of fentanyl pills and powder (Photo) - 02/29/24

LINN COUNTY, Ore. 29 Feb. 2024 – A recent traffic stop in Linn County resulted in the seizure of a large quantity of fentanyl powder and pills headed for the street. 

On Feb. 16, 2024, at approximately 4:30 p.m., an OSP trooper stopped a silver Honda Accord at milepost 219 on I-5 for a traffic violation. The trooper observed suspicious behavior by the vehicle occupants that pointed to possible drug activity. A K-9 unit was called to assist. 

The K-9 alerted on possible illegal drugs. A subsequent search of the vehicle resulted in the seizure of 10,000 fentanyl pills and four pounds of fentanyl powder from a grocery bag behind the driver’s seat. A small amount of other illegal narcotics was also found in the vehicle. 

The vehicle operator, Danny Yohan Cruz Benitz (18) of Oakland (CA), was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and attempted delivery of a controlled substance. Passenger, Walter Omar Mayorga Aguilar (20) of Sacramento (CA), was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, attempted delivery of a controlled substance, and a parole/probation violation.  

The investigation is ongoing and no additional information is available for release at this time.

 

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About the Oregon State Police
Oregon State Police (OSP) is a multi-disciplined organization that is charged with protecting the people, wildlife, and natural resources in Oregon. OSP enforces traffic laws on the state’s roadways, investigates and solves crime, conducts postmortem examinations and forensic analysis, and provides background checks, and law enforcement data. The agency regulates gaming and enforces fish, wildlife, and natural resource laws. OSP is comprised of more than 1,400 staff members – including troopers, investigators, and professional staff – who provide a full range of policing and public safety services to Oregon and other law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon.

Forensic approximation side view
Forensic approximation side view
Remains of Sandra Young identified after 54 years (Photo) - 02/22/24

Previously unidentified remains resolved through advanced DNA technology

PORTLAND, Ore. 22 Feb. 2024 – Through dedicated inter-agency cooperation, the remains of a previously unidentified young woman have been identified as Sandra Young, a Portland teenager who went missing from the Portland metro area more than five decades ago. The young woman was a Grant High School student and had not been seen since 1968 or 1969. 

“Sandra Young has now regained her identity after 54 years,” said Dr. Nici Vance, the state’s Human Identification Program Coordinator at the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office. “Her story represents a remarkable amount of diligence and collaboration between family members, detectives, Oregon State Medical Examiner staff, and our contract laboratory Parabon Nanolabs. This is yet another example of the innovative ways the ME’s Office and investigative genetic genealogy can help Oregonians find closure. This technology gives investigators the powerful ability to assist all Oregon agencies with the resolution of their cold case mysteries,” Dr. Vance continued. 

On Feb. 23, 1970, the remains of a fully skeletonized young female were discovered buried in a shallow grave at the far north end of Sauvie Island in Columbia County. The discovery was made by a Boy Scout troop leader, who first saw what he thought were items of clothing and then discovered human remains within the grave. Investigators recovered the remains and the remnants of a black curly wig. Investigators believed the remains were that of an African American and trauma to the body indicated foul play.

The young decedent, still unidentified, was moved to the state medical examiner facility in Clackamas County in 2004 along with more than 100 additional sets of unidentified remains. An anthropology report was completed, a bone sample was submitted to the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification, and a NamUs profile was created.

The case was the subject of consistent attention by the state medical examiner’s office. DNA results had been uploaded into CODIS, but no genetic associations were discovered. The DNA results indicated the remains were, in fact, that of a female. The NamUs system was checked for new cases of missing teenagers and young adult women on the West Coast, but none appeared to match the decedent. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) picked up the case and provided media attention and a more thorough review of additional missing person websites. DNA results only indicated that the remains were female in origin.

In 2018, the Oregon State Police Medical Examiner’s Office was awarded a National Institute of Justice grant to perform innovative DNA techniques on unsolved unidentified skeletal remains cases. This case was recognized as one that could potentially be resolved by DNA Phenotyping and Investigative Genetic Genealogy provided by OSP’s contract lab, Parabon NanoLabs.

An additional bone sample was submitted for DNA extraction, and a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) DNA profile was successfully analyzed.

The first Parabon Nanolabs report to be completed was a DNA Snapshot© Report, where genetic material is used to determine eye color, hair color, skin color, and the ancestry of the deceased. The report predicted this individual was of West African, South African, and Northern European descent, with brown to dark brown skin, brown eyes, and black hair.

The subsequent investigative genetic genealogy report, unfortunately, showed the lack of promising leads in the now 50-year-old cold case. Recommendations and contacts were made, but additional follow-up was slow.

Further analysis was performed by Parabon NanoLabs, with encouraging results. In February 2021, a deeper genetic dive was taken into the young woman’s ancestry, and a prediction of her facial characteristics was created. “To see her face come to life through DNA phenotyping was striking,” said Dr. Vance. 

In January 2023, an individual uploaded their DNA into the open-source genetic genealogy database GEDMatch and immediately was recognized as a potential distant family member of the decedent. Through research and interviews, the genetic genealogist encouraged other members of the family to upload their DNA data into GEDMatch, and a more complete picture of heritage emerged.

In July 2023 an additional Parabon report was completed. Descendants and countless family trees were developed; more matches came to light and communication with family members indicated that a teenage girl named Sandra Young went missing from Portland around the time the decedent was discovered. Sandra was a Grant High School student and appeared to be the sister of one of the genetic matches who, when contacted by the genealogist, agreed to assist in uploading their DNA data into GEDMatch.

Because Sandra was last seen in Portland, the Portland Police Bureau was contacted for assistance. PPB Detective Heidi Helwig took information from the Investigative Genetic Genealogy (IGG) report and contacted the DNA donor. Through a series of informative, poignant, and difficult interviews, Detective Helwig learned that this individual not only lost a teenage sister when Sandra went missing in 1968 or 1969, they also lost a sister to gun violence in the 1970s. The family member was cooperative, supportive, and motivated to determine if the remains could be their sister, Sandra Young.

In October 2023, the Kinship Inference Report was definitive in its conclusions. Genetic evidence confirmed the hypothesis that the young decedent was Sandra “Sandy” Young, born June 25, 1951, and unaccounted for since 1968 or 1969.

Based on the totality of the evidence (both genetic and circumstantial) Oregon Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Sean Hurst positively identified the individual as Sandra Young and the next-of-kin has been notified. The PPB detective division is now aware of the case and has been encouraged to conduct further investigation to determine, if possible, the circumstances of Sandy Young’s death.

Significant resources are needed to continue this type of advanced testing at the State Medical Examiner’s Office. Genetic genealogy casework and confirmation testing have shown incredibly successful results but can cost between $6,000-$10,000 per case. The State Medical Examiner’s Office is eager to continue the good work of identifying unknown decedents once again if funding is secured for future testing.

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About the State Medical Examiner’s Office 
The State Medical Examiner’s Office is the sole provider of forensic pathology services throughout Oregon and seeks to provide professional, timely, consistent, and compassionate death investigation services. Deputy State Medical Examiners are stationed in the Portland metro area (Clackamas), Eugene area, and Central Point, performing forensic autopsies and certifying the cause and manner of deaths under medical examiner jurisdiction. Our team closely collaborates with county medical examiners and medical legal death investigators employed by each county’s death investigation program, providing technical supervision of all medicolegal death investigations.

OSP plans saturation patrols in Lincoln County Feb. 22-24 - 02/21/24

High visibility patrols to focus on impaired drivers

LINCOLN COUNTY, Ore. 21 Feb. 2024 – Oregon State Police is stepping up patrols along the central coast Feb. 22-24, 2024, in anticipation of the Newport Seafood & Wine Festival. The annual event draws an estimated 25,000 visitors to the area during the four-day festival. 

Nine troopers from the OSP’s High Visibility Enforcement Unit will augment units from the Newport Patrol Office. The high visibility saturation patrols will focus on impaired driving including Ignition Interlocking Device (IID) requirements, minor in possession of alcohol or marijuana, and open containers.  

Troopers will also concentrate on other Fatal 5 violations such as speed, occupant safety, lane usage, and distracted driving. Along with impaired driving, the Fatal 5 violations are those that are statistically shown to contribute to serious injury and fatal crashes. 

“We encourage event attendees to make plans for a sober ride home as part of their weekend festivities,” said Capt. Kyle Kennedy. “The festival offers a free shuttle bus with stops at Newport area hotels throughout the weekend. We appreciate the organizer’s commitment to safety and encourage attendees to use the service, designate a sober driver, or utilize taxi and ridesharing services.” 

OSP patrols will primarily focus coverage along Hwy. 101, Hwy. 20, and Hwy. 18. 

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About the Oregon State Police
Oregon State Police (OSP) is a multi-disciplined organization that is charged with protecting the people, wildlife, and natural resources in Oregon. OSP enforces traffic laws on the state’s roadways, investigates and solves crime, conducts postmortem examinations and forensic analysis, and provides background checks, and law enforcement data. The agency regulates gaming and enforces fish, wildlife, and natural resource laws. OSP is comprised of more than 1,400 staff members – including troopers, investigators, and professional staff – who provide a full range of policing and public safety services to Oregon and other law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon.

Fatal Crash - HWY 97 - Jefferson County - 02/20/24

Jefferson County, Ore. 19 Feb. 24-- On Monday, February 19, 2024, at 4:16 a.m., Oregon State Police responded to a five-vehicle crash on Hwy 97, near milepost 107.5, in Jefferson County.

The preliminary investigation indicated two southbound commercial motor vehicles were traveling on icy roads when the trailing CMV struck the rear end of the lead CMV.  The collision caused the lead CMV trailer to slide sideways into the northbound lanes. A northbound red Toyota Tacoma, operated by Felipe Gamboa-Lupercio (55) of Terrebonne, and a white Toyota Tacoma, operated by Timothy Fuzi (52) of Terrebonne, struck the sliding trailer. A northbound GMC Sierra, operated by James Johnson (60) of Terrebonne, then struck the Toyota Tacomas as well.

The operators of the CMVs, Mark Williams (64) of Hood River and Corey Heikkila (41) of Portland, were reportedly not injured.

The operator of the GMC Sierra (Johnson) was reportedly not injured.

The operator of the white Toyota Tacoma (Fuzi) was reportedly not injured.

The operator of the red Toyota Tacoma (Felipe Gamboa-Lupercio) and the front passenger, Genaro Gamboa-Lupercio (62) of Redmond, suffered injuries and were transported to a local hospital.

The rear passenger of the red Toyota Tacoma, Jose Refugio Gamboa-Lupercio (57) of Redmond, was declared deceased at the scene.

The highway was impacted for approximately 5 hours during the on-scene investigation.  The primary factors contributing to this crash are considered roadway conditions and speed. 

OSP was assisted by Jefferson County Fire, Madras Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, and ODOT.


About the Oregon State Police
Oregon State Police (OSP) is a multi-disciplined organization that is charged with protecting the people, wildlife, and natural resources in Oregon. OSP enforces traffic laws on the state’s roadways, investigates and solves crime, conducts postmortem examinations and forensic analysis, and provides background checks, and law enforcement data. The agency regulates gaming and enforces fish, wildlife, and natural resource laws. OSP is comprised of more than 1,400 staff members – including troopers, investigators, and professional staff – who provide a full range of policing and public safety services to Oregon and other law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon.

Correction: Date of incident corrected to 2/8/24 - OSP seeks public assistance- Marion County - 02/16/24

Body of news release updated to reflect correct incident date of February 8, 2024.

 

Marion County, Ore. 8 Feb 24- Oregon State Police requesting public assistance locating a missing person.

On Thursday, February 8, 2024, Oregon State Police responded to the St Paul bridge on Hwy 219, near milepost 24, in Marion County. Gurjinder Singh Grewal (48) was last observed walking on the bridge at approximately 11:00 a.m.. His vehicle, a black Honda Pilot, was located just south of the bridge. 

Any person with dash-cam footage or who may have witnessed him in the area on 2 Feb. between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. is encouraged to contact the Oregon State Police Dispatch at 1-800-452-7888 or *OSP (*677).

Reference case number SP24042821.


 

OSP plans saturation patrols in Central Oregon - 02/15/24

OSP plans saturation patrols in Central Oregon
High visibility patrols to focus on impaired drivers

DESCHUTES COUNTY, Ore. 15 Feb. 2024 – The Oregon State Police (OSP) is ramping up patrols in Central Oregon from Feb. 16-18, 2024. A high visibility saturation patrol is planned for the President’s Day long weekend and coincides with the annual Bend Winterfest which is expected to increase local traffic and bring a large number of visitors to the area. 

Troopers will be focused on impaired driving prevention, detection, and enforcement along with an emphasis on Fatal 5 violations which are statistically shown to contribute to serious injury and fatal crashes. 

Fatal 5 violations include: 

  • Speed 
  • Occupant Safety 
  • Lane Usage 
  • Impaired Driving 
  • Distracted Driving 

“Safety is always our primary goal. We want to intercept impaired drivers before they can hurt themselves or someone else,” said Capt. Kyle Kennedy. “We know that speed, distracted, impaired, and other unsafe driving behaviors are major contributors to serious injury and fatal crashes. We proactively enforce dangerous driving behaviors to help minimize the impacts to our communities.” 

OSP and City of Bend patrols will be focusing coverage along Hwy. 97, Hwy. 20W, and within the city of Bend. 

 

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About the Oregon State Police
Oregon State Police (OSP) is a multi-disciplined organization that is charged with protecting the people, wildlife, and natural resources in Oregon. OSP enforces traffic laws on the state’s roadways, investigates and solves crime, conducts postmortem examinations and forensic analysis, and provides background checks, and law enforcement data. The agency regulates gaming and enforces fish, wildlife, and natural resource laws. OSP is comprised of more than 1,400 staff members – including troopers, investigators, and professional staff – who provide a full range of policing and public safety services to Oregon and other law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon.

Fatal Crash - Hwy 101- Tillamook County - 02/15/24

Tillamook County, Ore. 12 Feb. 24- On Monday, February 12, 2024, at 2:42 p.m., Oregon State Police responded to a two-vehicle crash on Hwy 101, near milepost 146, in Tillamook County.

The preliminary investigation indicated a Mazda Speed, operated by Devin Jay Eberle (29) of Tumwater (WA), was northbound when it passed multiple vehicles in a no-passing zone while entering a corner. The Mazda entered the southbound lane and struck a southbound Toyota Sienna, operated by Kathryn Stolee Olson (74) of Tacoma (WA), head-on.

The operator of the Mazda (Eberle) and passenger, Berkley Marie Erosky (26) of Vancouver (WA), were declared deceased at the scene.

The operator of the Toyota (K. Olson) and passenger, David Paul Olson (78) of Tacoma (WA), were transported for serious injuries.

The highway was impacted for approximately 2.5 hours during the on-scene investigation.  Speed and unlawful passing are considered primary contributing factors in the crash.

OSP was assisted by Nehalem Fire, Rockaway Fire, Tillamook County Sheriff's Office, and Manzanita Police Department.


About the Oregon State Police
Oregon State Police (OSP) is a multi-disciplined organization that is charged with protecting the people, wildlife, and natural resources in Oregon. OSP enforces traffic laws on the state’s roadways, investigates and solves crime, conducts postmortem examinations and forensic analysis, and provides background checks, and law enforcement data. The agency regulates gaming and enforces fish, wildlife, and natural resource laws. OSP is comprised of more than 1,400 staff members – including troopers, investigators, and professional staff – who provide a full range of policing and public safety services to Oregon and other law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon.

Fatal Crash - HWY 101 - Lincoln County - 02/15/24

Lincoln County, Ore. 7 Feb. 24- On Wednesday, February 7, 2024, at 5:50 p.m., Oregon State Police responded to a two-vehicle crash on Hwy 101, near milepost 157, in Lincoln County.

The preliminary investigation indicated a Toyota Prius, operated by Gordon Eugene Dale (77) of Waldport, attempted to turn left onto northbound Hwy 101. The Toyota entered the path of a southbound Subaru Outback, operated by Boone Vikin Ogden (46) of Seal Rock, and was struck in the driver's side door. 

The operator of the Toyota (Dale) was transported and declared deceased at the local hospital.

The operator of the Subaru (Ogden) and passengers- Michael Dennis Mitchell (75) of Westfir and Joshua Aaron Bonniwell (49) of Seal Rock- suffered reported minor injuries.

The highway was impacted for approximately 2.5 hours during the on-scene investigation.

OSP was assisted by the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office and ODOT.

This release was delayed while next of kin notification was attempted.


About the Oregon State Police
Oregon State Police (OSP) is a multi-disciplined organization that is charged with protecting the people, wildlife, and natural resources in Oregon. OSP enforces traffic laws on the state’s roadways, investigates and solves crime, conducts postmortem examinations and forensic analysis, and provides background checks, and law enforcement data. The agency regulates gaming and enforces fish, wildlife, and natural resource laws. OSP is comprised of more than 1,400 staff members – including troopers, investigators, and professional staff – who provide a full range of policing and public safety services to Oregon and other law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon.

Oregon State Police assists with search for missing child - 02/09/24

Oregon State Police assists with search for missing child
Child who wandered from home was found safe by an OSP trooper

POLK COUNTY, Ore. 9 Feb. 2024 – On Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024, Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers from both the Salem and McMinnville Area Commands responded to Grand Ronde in Polk County to help look for a missing child. At about 5:30 p.m. a four-year-old child had wandered off from his home on property which includes 20 acres of thick vegetation. It was cold, dark, and there had been recent predator attacks on livestock on the property. 

The child had been missing for about two hours when law enforcement officers from numerous agencies arrived on scene to assist with the search. Personnel from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office, Salem Police Department, Grand Ronde Tribal Police, Polk County Fire District, Polk County Search and Rescue, and OSP searched the property and surrounding area for approximately two hours before the child was found safe. 

Troopers Lorence and Watkin of the McMinnville Area Command were among the first law enforcement on scene and assisted with coordinating the search. They were joined by Troopers Bass and Stetson from the Salem Area Command and Sr. Trooper Smith, and his K-9, responded from off-duty to assist with the search. 

After about four hours on his own in the cold, the child was found by Trooper Lorence near a pullout on Hwy. 18 about one mile west of the property. Trooper Lorence had separated from the main search team to search near the highway. At about 9:30 p.m., he located the child who asked, “Can you take me home?” The child was evaluated by medical personnel on scene and reunited with his grateful family. The child had minor injuries from a fall; however, was otherwise uninjured. 

Captain Kyle Kennedy said, “We are grateful this child was found so quickly and unharmed. We appreciate the compassion and dedication displayed by our troopers and all the responding personnel. We know how distressing this situation was for this child and his family and are glad of the positive outcome.”

 

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About the Oregon State Police
Oregon State Police (OSP) is a multi-disciplined organization that is charged with protecting the people, wildlife, and natural resources in Oregon. OSP enforces traffic laws on the state’s roadways, investigates and solves crime, conducts postmortem examinations and forensic analysis, and provides background checks, and law enforcement data. The agency regulates gaming and enforces fish, wildlife, and natural resource laws. OSP is comprised of more than 1,400 staff members – including troopers, investigators, and professional staff – who provide a full range of policing and public safety services to Oregon and other law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon.

Fatal crash - Hwy 203 - Baker County - 02/07/24

Baker County, Ore 5 Feb 24- On Monday, February 5, 2024, at 4:19 p.m., Oregon State Police responded to a single-vehicle crash on Hwy 203, near milepost 24, in Baker County.

The preliminary investigation indicated a southbound Dodger Ram 2500, operated by Dennis Leon Brock (61) of Baker City, left the roadway for unknown reasons and overturned. The single occupant of the vehicle was ejected during the rollover and located near the vehicle when first responders arrived.

The operator of the Dodge (Brock) was declared deceased at the scene.

The highway was not impacted during the on-scene investigation.  The cause of the crash has not been determined. Investigators believe the operator was not wearing a seatbelt during the collision.

OSP was assisted by ODOT.

Fatal Crash - HWY 42 - Coos County - 02/07/24

Coos County, Ore 5 Feb 24- On Monday, February 5, 2024, at 4:38 p.m., Oregon State Police responded to a two-vehicle crash on Hwy 42, near milepost 2.5, in Coos County.

The Preliminary investigation indicated a westbound Honda Civic, operated by Brycen James Creamer (20) of Coos Bay, lost control while negotiating a curve and crossed into the eastbound travel lane. The Honda slid sideways in the path of an eastbound Toyota RAV4, operated by Sandy Lynn Fuller (52) of Myrtle Point, and was struck near the front passenger door.

The operator of the Honda (Creamer) was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The operator of the Toyota (Fuller) was transported with serious injuries to a local hospital for treatment.

The highway was impacted for approximately 3.5 hours during the on-scene investigation. Speed and roadway conditions (wet) are suspected to be contributing factors to the collision.

OSP was assisted by Bay Cities Ambulance, Coos County Sheriff's Department, and ODOT.

Fatal Crash - Highway 199 - Josephine County - 02/01/24

JOSEPHINE COUNTY, Ore. 1 Feb. 2024 – On Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024, at approximately 12:24 p.m., Oregon State Police responded to a single-vehicle crash on Hwy. 199 near milepost 39 in Josephine County. 

The preliminary investigation indicated that a Chevrolet Avalanche, operated by John Anton Renner IV (59) of Brookings, was traveling southbound on Hwy. 199 near milepost 39 when the vehicle left the roadway for unknown reasons. The vehicle crashed into a group of trees and caught on fire. 

The operator (Renner) was pronounced deceased at the scene. 

The highway was impacted for approximately four hours. 

OSP was assisted by the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office, Illinois Valley Fire District, and the Oregon Department of Transportation. 

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About the Oregon State Police
Oregon State Police (OSP) is a multi-disciplined organization that is charged with protecting the people, wildlife, and natural resources in Oregon. OSP enforces traffic laws on the state’s roadways, investigates and solves crime, conducts postmortem examinations and forensic analysis, and provides background checks, and law enforcement data. The agency regulates gaming and enforces fish, wildlife, and natural resource laws. OSP is comprised of more than 1,400 staff members – including troopers, investigators, and professional staff – who provide a full range of policing and public safety services to Oregon and other law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon.