Beaverton son charged with murder in mother’s death

Investigators found human remains in the backyard fire pit

Matthew Gutierrez appeared in court July 18, 2017. He's charged with 1st-degree abuse of a corpse.
Matthew Gutierrez appeared in court July 18, 2017. He's charged with 1st-degree abuse of a corpse.

BEAVERTON, Ore. (KOIN) — The Beaverton son who allegedly admitted to police that he burned his mother’s body is charged with murder after authorities confirmed they found human remains at their home.

Matthew Gutierrez was arrested at 11525 SW 11th St. on Monday. He was initially charged with 1st-degree abuse of a corpse, however, prosecutors Wednesday made a motion to dismiss it. He is now charged with murder in the death of his mother, 57-year-old Katherine McDowell.

The body of McDowell has not been found, but investigators did find human remains in the fire pit. They believe the remains belong to McDowell.

During the initial investigation, Gutierrez made comments that he had burned his mother’s body in the backyard fire pit.

Police went to the home after McDowell’s daughter asked them to do a welfare check on her mother because of the fights between Gutierrez and McDowell.

Bryan Dalton with the Beaverton Police Department said the daughter last talked to her mom Sunday night and was disturbed by some of the comments Gutierrez made.

Once police arrived at the Beaverton home, they spoke to the daughter and Gutierrez shortly before deciding they had enough information to arrest Gutierrez.

Around 4 a.m. Monday, a fire was reported at the location, and there is a fire pit in the backyard of the house, which is where the human bones were found.

Previously, police responded to several disturbance calls at this same house.

“We’ve been here several times,” Dalton said. “Arguments and disturbances between Matthew and Kathy.”

Dalton also said Gutierrez is reported to have mental illness issues and potentially some anger issues as well.

Neighbors are completely shocked about the incident.

Neighbor Susana Guillen said she always saw McDowell in her garden and described her as “very nice,” while she said Gutierrez seemed to avoid people.

“He would see you and pretend he didn’t see you and walk away,” Guillen said. “Not friendly-looking.”

Sary Kahuv, another neighbor, said, “She was very nice, not just to me, but to everybody.”

Kahuv also said he saw McDowell just a few days and mentioned something about her son and his mental health, and how it would “be okay.”

Police arrested Gutierrez for domestic violence against his sister in 2016 and against his mom in 2017, but the DA’s office did not charge him.

Gutierrez’s next court date is July 26.