ESTACADA, Ore. (KOIN) — Lyman Brown is still searching for answers 41 years after his 2 children were murdered at a park near Estacada.
Leslie was 7, her brother Geoffrey was just 5 when their father unknowingly said goodbye to them for the last time one morning in 1975.
“They were happy kids, good natured,” Brown told KOIN 6 News. “It’s indescribable… you can’t… the sense of loss is just… it’s with you all the time.”
The scenery at McIver Park belies the hideous scene that unfolded beneath its towering trees decades ago. Leslie and Geoffrey’s bodies were found there.
“It’s horrific,” Brian Jensen with Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office said. “Any time a child is violated… it’s gut-wrenching for sure.”
Deputies with CCSO discovered the children’s small bodies stretched out, lying face down on a fleece-lined coat. Each had been shot 3 times, twice in the head.
Their mother’s car was located several hundred yards away, abandoned with a box of .38 caliber cartridges and a receipt for a newly-purchased gun locked inside.
Investigators scoured the park, looking for any sign of Lynne Brown. But the 26-year-old mother had simply vanished. Everyone was on “pins and needles” for a year.
“Maybe she’d show up,” Brown said. “Maybe… who knows?”
Lynne had a history of mental illness and had attempted suicide before, unsuccessfully. Police said she threatened to kill her mother with a butcher knife.
“She had reached a breaking point, I guess,” Brown said. “I couldn’t put up with that so we got a divorce and she didn’t even show up at the divorce hearing.”
Brown was awarded custody of Leslie and Geoffrey, but his ex-wife took them for a 1-day visit. Their bodies were discovered 3 weeks later.
Three decades after the cold case investigation began, police issued a warrant for Lynne’s arrest, along with a sketch of how she might look today.
“A murder has no statute of limitations,” Jensen said. “We don’t quit on these.”
Some believe Lynne walked into the Clackamas River and shot herself. Brown said it was “incomprehensible… that she could do this and not take her own life.”
Is she still alive? It’s a question police and Brown hope will someday be answered.
“The worst part is… when you wake up in the morning and you’ve forgotten overnight and then it comes to you,” he said. “We just have faith that it’s all going to work out.”