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Bend police, DA update status of double-homicide investigation

(Update: Comments from Bend police, DA John Hummel, vigil update)

Avid gamers loved hunting, fishing, making friends laugh

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Police investigating the double-homicide of a couple found dead in their northeast Bend home late Saturday said Wednesday they are following up on leads outside of the area in their active investigation.

As a result, "there is not a public safety threat to our community," Lt. Juli McConkey said in a brief update.

McConkey had sparked some confusion and concern earlier in the week when they identified the victims, released no suspect information but said, "We do not believe there is a threat to the public."

Here's the statement she issued Wednesday:

"The investigation of the double homicide continues to be active and ongoing.  The investigators are currently following up on leads outside of the Central Oregon area. There is not a public safety threat to our community.

"The Bend Police Department understands the high public interest in cases such as this.  The release of information may be not be as timely as the public would like. 

"Social media platforms make it quick to circulate information, but investigators often need to make other connections for a thorough investigation. Investigators need to protect the integrity of the cases they are assigned, in order to present the best case to prosecutors, and sometimes an early release of unverified information can hinder that process.

"More information will be released as it becomes available."

Meanwhile, Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel responded to a question from NewsChannel 21 with these comments Wednesday: "We believe this couple were killed in their home. It’s an active investigation, and no arrests are imminent."

Earlier story:

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – A couple whose bodies were found Saturday night in their northeast Bend home died of “homicidal violence,” police said Monday night, identifying the victims but adding they “do not believe there is a threat to the public.”

Lt. Juli McConkey identified the double-homicide victims as Raymond Atkinson Jr., 34, and Natasha Newby, 29, who friends earlier told NewsChannel 21 was Atkinson’s fiancée.

Autopsies were performed Monday at the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office in Clackamas, near Portland, the lieutenant said.

“We believe they are both victims of homicidal violence,” McConkey said in a brief update. “The investigation continues to be active and ongoing.”

McConkey said she could not provide further details, including whether one or both victims died inside the home, but said more information will be released when available.

Family and friends earlier Monday confirmed to NewsChannel 21 the names of the the pair who were found dead Saturday night by police conducting a welfare check at their home in the 900 block of Northwest 12th Street, near Pilot Butte.

Bend Police and Fire & Rescue had responded on a welfare check around 9:40 p.m. Saturday to the home, McConkey said earlier Monday.

The first responders found two people dead at the scene. The Central Oregon Major Incident Team was called in and received a search warrant for the home, McConkey added.

Investigators and forensic experts worked within crime scene tape outside the home on Sunday and Monday near U.S. Highway 20 (Greenwood Avenue) and Pilot Butte.

Friends described the couple as avid gamers who loved hunting and fishing, as well as their loving friends.

"They were funny," Tammy McDonald said. "I mean, no matter how bad of a day someone was having, they would always be there, to make you laugh, get your mind off that subject."

"They would have given their shirt off their back to anybody," she added. "I mean, they loved hunting and fishing, and like I said, they were a big part of the gaming community."

Atkinson and Newby were engaged, they said, but had not yet set a wedding date.

NewsChannel 21 also spoke to neighbors just a few houses down on Monday about the weekend's events.

"I thinks it's -- we're still kind of feeling that, that hasn't quite worn off yet," Tyler Wrecker said. "You hear about these things happening all over the place but you never think it's going to be the house next door."

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Blake Allen

Blake Allen is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Blake here.


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