Cold Cases

About the Violent Crimes Unit and the Cold Case Squad

The Eugene Police Department currently has more than 60 cold cases classified as homicides and missing persons. The Cold Case Squad has four volunteers (three retired police officers and a former prosecutor) assigned  to investigate the cases under the supervision of Violent Crimes Unit sworn detectives.  The cold cases described below  involve Eugene homicide victims and missing persons who were members of our community and have families and friends who continue to seek justice and closure in their cases.

The public plays a crucial role in helping to solve these cases and EPD has multiple ways to contact the investigators, including through an anonymous tip line.

We need your help

To remain anonymous, callers may provide information through Crime Stoppers of Oregon (linked in each of the following EPD cold case summaries.)  Crime Stoppers of Oregon offers cash rewards for information, reported to Crime Stoppers, that leads to an arrest in any unsolved felony crimes and tipsters can remain anonymous.  Information about the Eugene Police Department cold cases reported to Crime Stoppers of Oregon may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,500.  (PLEASE:  MENTION THE CASE VICTIM'S NAME WHEN SUBMITTING A TIP TO CRIME STOPPERS.) 

Information learned from social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube should be shared with investigators as these tips may lead to the identification of a suspect or suspects. 

Report a lead

Phone:  541-682-5588


Eugene Police Headquarters Sign

Homicide and Missing Person Cold Case Summaries

  1. Antonio Alvarez
  2. case photos

Victim: Antonio Alvarez

Age at time of homicide:  52

Location of homicide: West 2nd Avenue and Washington Street (Washington-Jefferson Park - Photo) 

Date and time of homicide: Antonio Alvarez was found deceased in the park on the morning of July 16, 1992 by a Eugene Police patrol officer

 Cause of death: Blunt force trauma from multiple strikes to his head, possibly with a tire iron or hammer.

Brief synopsis: Alvarez was attacked while sleeping in his sleeping bag.

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Alvarez photo

  1. Margo Nerine Ascencio

Victim: Margo Nerine Ascencio (a.k.a. Margo Castro)

Age at time of homicide: 22

Location of homicide: El Don Motel, 1140 West 6th Avenue

Date and time of homicide: March 1, 1975, between 8:30 p.m. and 10:45 p.m.

Cause of death: Multiple stab wounds

Brief synopsis: Margo Ascencio's body was found in a motel room. She had been attacked viciously and suffered stab wounds all over her body. The investigation revealed Margo Ascencio had previously been associated with members of the Hessian motorcycle gang.

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No photo available

  1. Jessie Thomas Ball

Victim: Jessie Thomas Ball

Age at time of homicide: 51

Location of homicide: 110 North Lawrence Street 

Date and time of homicide: Between February 14, at 1 p.m., to February 15, at 2 p.m., in 1982

Cause of death: Blunt force trauma

Brief synopsis: Jessie Ball was found deceased laying on the floor of a garage at 110 North Lawrence, which was a location  often used as a shelter to individuals without housing. Investigation revealed Ball suffered multiple blows to his head with a blunt-instrument.  It is believed robbery was a motive as Ball's wallet was missing.

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Jessie Ball photo

  1. Dale Leslie Behm
  2. Case Photos

Victim: Dale Leslie Behm

Age at time of homicide: 47

Location of homicide: 1030 Highway 99 North (Rod's Hof Brau tavern - Photo)

Date and time of homicide: Between December 11, at 10 p.m., to December 12, 3:25 a.m., 1972

Cause of death: Multiple gunshot wounds

Brief synopsis: Dale Leslie Behm was last seen drinking beer at Rod's Hof Brau tavern. Hours later, a person observed an unconscious person in a pickup parked at the tavern. A Eugene police officer was flagged down and discovered Dale Behm deceased in the pickup. The investigation revealed Dale Behm had been shot several times and his wallet had been taken.

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Dale Behm s photo

  1. George Louis Castaneda

Victim: George Louis Castaneda

Age at the time of homicide: 44

Location of homicide: 1542 West 1st Avenue (in front of Eugene Mission)

Date and time of homicide: September 6, 1993, at approximately 1 p.m.

Cause of death: Blunt impacts to his head

Brief synopsis: George Castaneda was assaulted and died from injuries to his head. The assailant was described as a white male, 20-30 years of age, 5'5" in height, weighing about 145 lbs. He was described having blond shoulder length hair and a mustache. The assailant may have had a nickname of "Red."

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No photo available

  1. Barbara Katherine Cunningham
  2. Case Photos

Victim: Barbara Katherine Cunningham

Age at the time of homicide: 34

Location of homicide: 433 West 8th Avenue, #3 (Photo)

Date and time of homicide: Between May 24, 1:30 p.m. and May 25, 9:40 a.m., 1971

Cause of death: Strangulation 

Brief synopsis: Barbara Cunningham was discovered in her Eugene apartment by her mother who found her deceased. Investigation revealed she had been strangled. At the time of her death, Barbara Cunningham was estranged from her husband who was living in Sweden.

Submit an anonymous tip

Barbara Cunningham s photo

  1. Maynard Francis Grossbach
  2. Case Photos

Victim: Maynard (Manny) Francis Grossbach

Age at the time of homicide: 53

Location of homicide: Inside parked van on street in front of 844 Jefferson Street (photo)

Date and time of homicide: November 30, 1970, between the hours of 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Cause of death: Multiple gunshot wounds

Brief synopsis: Manny Grossbach, owner of two Eugene bar and grill establishments, was found deceased in his white 1969 Ford van. Investigation revealed that he had been shot several times and that his wallet and bar receipts were missing.

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Manny Grossbach photo

  1. Sharon Marie hiller

Victim: Sharon Marie Hiller

Age at the time of homicide: 25

Location of homicide: South bank of the Willamette River in Skinner Butte Park near the Greenway Footbridge (near N. Polk Street and Bailey Lane). 

Date and time of homicide: November 28, 1992

Cause of death: Manual Strangulation

Brief synopsis: Sharon Hiller was last seen alive after completing her dancing shift at the Alaska Bush Company nightclub. Her body was found partially hidden under tree debris. She left behind a son and a daughter.

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Sharon Hiller photo2

  1. Vicki Lynn Hollar
  2. Case Photos

Missing Person: Vicki Lynn Hollar

Age at time of disappearance: 24

Last location seen: 8th Avenue and Washington Street

Date and time last seen: August 20, 1973, around 6 p.m.

Physical description: White, 5'1", 115, brown hair, brown eyes

Brief synopsis: Vicki Hollar was employed part-time by the Bon Marche department store that was located at 175 West Broadway. At the end of her shift on August 20, 1973, she walked with her supervisor to her car parked near 8th and Washington. She drove away and was never seen again. Vicki Hollar's vehicle was described as a black 1965 Volkswagen Bug bearing Illinois license plates GR7738. Her vehicle has never been located. Friends and coworkers told police that Vicki was happy and looked forward to being scheduled for full-time work the following week.

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Vicki Hollars photo2

  1. Peter H. Hutchings
  2. Case Photos

Victim: Peter H. Hutchings

Age at time of homicide: 31

Location of homicide: Peter Hutchings' body was found in the trunk of a rental vehicle at the Eugene Airport by an employee of the rental company (photo). The exact location where he was killed is unknown. 

Date and time of homicide: Between September 8 at 12 noon, to September 9, 12:15 a.m., 1987

Cause of death: Gunshot wound

Brief synopsis: The initial investigation revealed Peter Hutchings was involved in drug dealing and had flown to Eugene from Hawaii days prior to his murder.  It was ascertained that Peter Hutchings was involved in dealing cocaine and marijuana and may have been seeking payment that was due to him.

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Peter Hutchings photo

  1. Suzanne Rae Justis

Missing Person: Suzanne Rae Justis

Age at time of disappearance: 23

Physical description at time of disappearance: 5'3", 110 lbs, long light brown hair and blue eyes

Last location seen: Last seen in Portland, Oregon, near the Memorial Coliseum

Date and time last seen: November 5, 1973

Brief synopsis: Suzanne Justis traveled from her home in Eugene to Portland, Oregon on or around November 2, 1973. It is unknown the mode of transportation she took or if she hitchhiked to Portland, as she had been known to hitchhike on occasion. On November 5, 1973, Suzanne called her mother from a phone booth located near the Memorial Coliseum in Portland. Suzanne told her mother she would return home the next day (November 6) to pick up her 5-year-old son at school. Suzanne Justis has not been located or heard from since November 5, 1973, nor has her body been recovered as of this date.

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No photo available

  1. Gayle Elizabeth Le Clair

Victim: Gayle Elizabeth Le Clair

Age at time of homicide: 22

Location of homicide: 1781 Sylvan Street

Date and time of homicide: August 23, 1973, between 1:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Cause of death: Multiple stab wounds

Brief synopsis: Gayle Le Clair failed to show up for work at the Eugene Public Library and when her residence was checked by fellow employees, she was discovered deceased. She suffered numerous stab wounds. There was no sign of a forced entry. She had the previous night dated a known acquaintance and they went to a drive-in movie. She was last seen alive by this acquaintance at 1:30 a.m.

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Gayle Le Clair s photo

  1. Kevin Jamael Mitchell
  2. Case Photos

Victim: Kevin Jamael Mitchell

Age at the time of homicide: 23

Location of homicide: 15 Division Avenue (Photo)

Date and time of homicide: March 24, 8 p.m., to March 26, 7 p.m., 1999

Cause of death: Gunshot wound

Brief synopsis: The Eugene Police Department was notified about an unconscious man in a champagne colored 1996 4-door Honda Accord parked in the parking lot at the Office Max business. A bullet hole was discovered through the driver's side window. Kevin Mitchell was discovered shot to death inside of his car.

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Kevin Mitchell 1

  1. Walter Uria Pirtle
  2. Case Photos

Victim: Walter Uria Pirtle

Age at the time of homicide: 47

Location of homicide: 40 East 10th Avenue (His body was found in the doorway of a downtown mall blood donor bank - Photo)

Date and time of homicide: Walter Pirtle was attacked and killed around 4 a.m., on August 23, 1989. 

Cause of death: Blunt force trauma from multiple strikes to his head with a club and stabbed with a knife. 

Brief synopsis: Pirtle, who was without housing, was attacked while waiting with another man for the blood bank to open. Two suspects approached on foot demanding money. Pirtle was attacked with a club and knife and died at the scene. The second victim was not seriously injured. It is believed the suspects were seen in a light brown Ford Pinto station wagon. Suspect #1 was described as a white male, early 20s, 150 lbs, and suspect #2 was described as a white male, early 20s, 140-150 lbs.

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Walter Pirtile homicide artist drawing of suspect 1
Walter Pirtle homicide artist drawing of suspect 2

  1. Rebecca Kathleen Reid

Victim:  Rebecca (Becky) Kathleen Reid

Age at the time of disappearance:  37

Location of disappearance:  Grocery Cart, 1510 Hwy 99N

Date and Time of disappearance:  January 27, 1997 at about 1:00 a.m.

Victim's physical description:  White, 5'2" tall, 120 lbs, shoulder length brown hair, wearing wire rimmed glasses, turquoise blue pull-over sweater and blue jeans.

Brief synopsis:  Rebecca Reid, a store clerk at the Grocery Cart store, was last seen leaving the store with an unknown man (description above.) A possible vehicle involved was described as a late 70's or early 80's compact or mid-size pickup truck, white or light colored.  The witness was a regular customer at the Grocery Cart and realized that it was uncharacteristic for Reid to leave the store unattended.  He called 9-1-1 and police patrol units responded to the scene where it was determined that Reid had been abducted.  Rebecca Reid has not been located.

Suspect's physical description: White male, late 20's to mid 30's in age, 5'9" tall, medium build, shoulder length brown hair, possibly a mustache with scruffy facial hair, wearing a dark baseball cap, shite short-sleeved shirt and blue jeans (see composite sketch.)

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photo of Rebecca Reid

  1. Robert Allen Seller
  2. Case Photos

Victim: Robert Allen Seller

Age at time of homicide: 30

Location of homicide: 1500 block of West 1st Avenue (Photo)

Date and time of homicide: January 16, 1987, between 7:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.

Cause of death: Stab wounds

Brief synopsis: Robert Seller was walking from the Eugene Mission to his car, in which he lived. Seller was accosted by one or more suspects and stabbed multiple times by his assailant(s). Robbery may have been the motive in this case as no wallet was found on the victim or in his vehicle.

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No photo available

  1. Scott Mathew Sells

Missing Person: Scott Matthew Sells

Description at time of disappearance: Scott Sells, was 19 years of age when he was last seen by his family before his disappearance.  He is White, 6'0" tall, 160, red hair, and green eyes. 

Last location seen: Eugene, Oregon

Date and time last seen: September 11, 2003

Brief synopsis: It is believed Scott Sells may have traveled to Arcata, California by Greyhound bus. He never arrived at his destination, and his family informed police that it was unusual for him to disappear. Sells had some dental work completed in preparation for a crown and was missing his front tooth at the time of his disappearance.

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Scott Matthew Sells

  1. Janet Lynn Shanahan
  2. Case Photos

Victim: Janet Lynn Shanahan

Age at the time of homicide: 22

Location of homicide: Cross Street, west of Maple Street (Photo)

Date and time of homicide: Between April 21, 11:30 p.m., to April 23,  6 a.m., 1969

Cause of death: Strangulation

Brief synopsis: Janet Shanahan was reported missing by her husband, Christopher Shanahan, after allegedly failing to return to their residence after a birthday party for a relative. Christopher Shanahan had not attended the party with his wife. Several days later, Christopher Shanahan and a friend of his wife located Janet's vehicle, a 1951 Plymouth Coupe. He opened the trunk and found his wife's body. Investigation revealed Janet had been sexually assaulted and strangled.

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Janet Shanahans photo2

  1. Azucena Terrazas
  2. Case Photos

Victim: Azucena Terrazas

Age at time of homicide: 28

Location of homicide: 940 W. 7th Avenue (money transfer business - Photo)

Date and time of homicide: Between 7:00 p.m., February 7 to 4:45 p.m., February 8, 2002.

Cause of death: Strangulation

Brief synopsis: Azucena Terrazas was the sole employee working at a money transfer business in Eugene. The primary clients of the business, DolEx - Giros A Mexico Centro Y Sudamericana, were people of Latin descent. Terrazas was last seen at work on Thursday, February 7, 2002, at 7 p.m.  Her body was found inside the business the following day.

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Azucena Terrazas photo

  1. Armando Urisar-Escobar
  2. Case Photos

Victim: Armando Urisar-Escobar

Age at time of homicide: 38

Location of homicide: 1991 W. 2nd Avenue (photo)

Date and time of homicide: Armando Urisar-Escobar was assaulted August 31, 1993, at approximately 11 p.m.

Cause of death: Multiple stab wounds

Brief synopsis: The suspect  and two witnesses purchased some beer and sat along the tracks, west of the Chambers overpass.  According to the witnesses, without provocation, the suspect attacked the victim with a knife and fled.  The suspect had mentioned he just got into town that day via a freight train from the north.

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No photo available

  1. Karren Etta Whiteside
  2. Case Photos

Victim: Karen Etta Whiteside

Age at time of homicide: 16

Location of homicide: 3455 Royal Avenue, Fairfield Elementary School (Photo)

Date and time of homicide: Evening of March 21 or early morning hours of March 22, 1978.

Cause of death: Strangulation

Brief synopsis: Karen Whiteside was encountered as she was walking to a friend's house in an alcove at Fairfield Elementary School. She was sexually assaulted and strangled. Her body was found by school staff members prior to school opening the morning of March 22, 1978.

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Karen Whiteside photo

  1. Kenneth King Wilson
  2. Case Photos

Victim: Kenneth King Wilson

Age at time of homicide: 49

Location of homicide: 311 E. 11th Avenue (McCabe's Texaco station - Photo)

Date and time of homicide: Between February 16, 11 p.m., and  7 a.m., February 17, 1973.

Cause of death: Unknown

Brief synopsis: The owner of McCabe's Texaco station noticed Kenneth Wilson's car disabled at the service station when opening up his business at 7 a.m. on February 17, 1973.  A pool of blood and prescription eyeglasses were observed near the vehicle.  Upon investigation by police, it was determined the registered owner of the car, Kenneth Wilson, was assaulted and kidnapped.  His body has never been found.

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Register-Guard 1973 Kenneth Wilson 2 s disappearance

  1. Aden J.D. Wood

Victim: Aden J.D. Wood

Age at time of homicide: 20

Location of homicide: 310 East 17th Avenue, #7

Date and time of homicide: At approximately 5 a.m., January 1, 1993, 

Cause of death: Inhalation of products of combustion due to arson

Case synopsis: Aden Wood died when a fire spread through the apartment complex where he was living. Fire and police investigators found the fire was deliberately set by a person or persons unknown. The motive for setting the fire remains unknown.

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No photo available

  1. Octaviano Zaragoza

Victim: Octaviano Zaragoza

Age at time of homicide: 31

Location of homicide: 247 Washington Street (n/s alley behind Rick's Down Under tavern)

Date and time of homicide: Octaviano Zaragoza was assaulted during the late hours of Halloween night, October 31, 1992, or early morning hours of November 1, 1992. 

Cause of death: Blunt force trauma from multiple strikes to his head, possibly with a piece of wood or other hard object. 

Brief synopsis: Octaviano Zaragoza, who was without housing, was found comatose with serious head injuries in the alley east of Washington Jefferson Park. His shoes were stolen from his feet and his pack was rummaged through. Because the homicide occurred on Halloween night, police investigators believe persons from the aforementioned tavern, the nearby Washington Jefferson Park basketball courts or nearby Halloween parties may have witnessed the assault or have knowledge of who the suspect may be.

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Octaviano Zaragoza photo