Beaten woman, slain teen family friends

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The woman beaten with a pipe along a trail in Pendleton and a teenager who was killed a year ago both knew each other, and the same man is described as a “person of interest” in both cases.

Karen Lange went out on her daily walk along a trail in Pendleton on Aug. 9 when, police said, she was attacked and beaten in the head with a pipe. She was found unconscious the next morning.

23-year-old transient Danny Wu is a person of interest in the Aug. 9, 2013, assault of a woman on a trail in Pendleton, Ore. As of Aug. 27, the victim was in critical condition at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. (Pendleton Police Department)
23-year-old transient Danny Wu is a person of interest in the Aug. 9, 2013, assault of a woman on a trail in Pendleton, Ore. As of Aug. 27, the victim was in critical condition at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. (Pendleton Police Department)

Danny Wu, 23, is a “person of interest” in this attack as he was seen on surveillance footage allegedly stalking Karen Lange.

He also has been connected, through DNA on the pipe, to a knife used in the unsolved 2012 murder of 19-year-old Amyjane Brandhagen. She was stabbed to death in the motel where she worked.

Dan Lange's wife, Karen, is in a medically-induced coma after being beaten with a pipe on a trail in Pendleton. No one is yet in custody, though there is a person of interest. (Aug. 28, 2013, KOIN 6 News)
Dan Lange’s wife, Karen, is in a medically-induced coma after being beaten with a pipe on a trail in Pendleton. No one is yet in custody, though there is a person of interest. (Aug. 28, 2013, KOIN 6 News)

Karen’s husband, Dan Lange, said these violent incidents are a terrible coincidence — as the Langes are close friends with the Brandhagens.

“They went to our church,” he told KOIN 6 News. “We knew Jane from the day she came home as a baby all through her life.”

He said his wife and the teen “were perfectly innocent victims, which sends a shudder down my spine thinking this individual is still out there.”

Karen Lange remains in a medically-induced coma and is suffering from brain damage. Her recovery has been slow, though she is expected to make a functional recovery. That means she’ll have some relearning to do.

“For me, I sit there and watch the little things — a twitch of the hand or her eyebrows moving up and down,” he said.

It’s too soon to know if her injuries will affect her passion for music. She leads a music program at Pendleton Methodist Church where she sings and plays piano.

Dan Lange is anxious to hear her voice again.

“The first thing I would say where she could respond is just, ‘I love you.’ And I never could have guessed what that love meant before this,” he said. “But I love her more every day as she battles through this.”

Follow this story on KOIN.com:

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