Cold case: Grandparents found dead 26 years ago

Elderly couple strangled in 1988 in likely robbery

Robert and Frieda Wheatley shown in an undated family photo (Credit: Portland Police)
Robert and Frieda Wheatley shown in an undated family photo (Credit: Portland Police)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — When police walked into Robert and Frieda Wheatley’s home on Aug. 29, 1988, they discovered two bodies inside the basement.

The medical examiner determined Robert, 61, and Frieda, 69, were murdered. Both had been strangled, police said.

The case remains unsolved. Friday marks 26 years since the discovery of the bodies, and police are asking for the public’s help.

“Investigating detectives believe that there are people in the community that have information about this crime,” police said.

Detectives believe the couple had been killed on Aug. 27, two days before they were found.

When the couple’s granddaughter requested police do a welfare check of the Wheatley’s North Portland home, officers found the home ransacked.

“It is apparent from the crime scene that the motive was robbery,” police said.

A TV, ATM card, credit card and the Wheatley’s light-green 1979 Buick Regal were stolen, police said. There was no sign of forced entry.

The credit and debt card were used extensively in Northeast, North and Downtown Portland prior to the Wheatley’s bodies being discovered, police said.

Officers eventually located the Buick a few days later on Jantzen Beach.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Crime Stoppers of Oregon at 503.823.HELP (4357)

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