Following an autopsy Friday, the death of a woman found Nov. 12 in a camper trailer on Ketchum Road is considered suspicious, the Wasco County district attorney said Friday.
District Attorney Eric Nisley said he couldn’t comment further at this time.
Deputies found Deon Louise Patterson, 47, and Brian Thomas Paulsen, 48, in the camper after another law enforcement agency asked that they look for them there. A dog was also found dead in the camper. Evidence at the scene suggested carbon monoxide poisoning was a factor, according to a press release from the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office.
Family members had reported missing to the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office, according to a press release from the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office.
Yamhill County then asked Wasco County to check an area on Ketchum Road, about 14 miles outside The Dalles, where Patterson was known to camp, the press release stated.
Facebook posts indicated Patterson once lived in The Dalles.
Paulsen’s Dodge pickup, with the small camper trailer attached, was found near a cabin.
“Initial examination of the scene suggested potential hazardous substances may have been present in the trailer,” the press release stated. “Hazmat 3 out of Gresham, Ore., responded and determined the scene was safe for law enforcement to enter and continue their investigation.”
Nisley said Thursday in explaining why an autopsy was ordered only for Patterson, “It seems pretty clear what the cause of death is for him. We’re just not 100 percent sure about her.”
The press release said the cause and manner of death cannot be determined at this time and the investigation is ongoing.
Capt. Chris Ray of the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office said the couple lived in Lafayette, a small town in Yamhill County that contracts with the county for police services.
“It was the daughter of the male who called in concerned because it was just out of character for her not to hear from them and it had been a couple of days since she heard from them,” Ray said.
“Through the course of that investigation it sounded like there was a belief from the daughter that they may be up in that area in Wasco County,” Ray said. “We just reached out to Wasco County with the information we had and that was the extent of our involvement at this point.”
Ray said he believed it had been two or three days since the daughter had heard from her dad when she called the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office on Nov. 11. The next day, Yamhill County called Wasco County.
Wasco County deputies found the bodies about three hours after getting the request to check Ketchum Road.