North Plains body may be connected to 2012 murder

Human remains were found on Willis Lane and Pumpkin Ridge Road

The Washington County Sheriff's Office responded to a report of a body found in this area of North Plains, November 3, 2017 (KOIN)
The Washington County Sheriff's Office responded to a report of a body found in this area of North Plains, November 3, 2017 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a body found in North Plains in connection with the 2012 murder of Theresa Fronsman.

Investigators said the human remains were found by hunters at the end of NW Willis Lane on private forest land near Pumpkin Ridge Road. The body was found in a heavily wooded area with lots of brush.

An undated photo of Robert Hardison.
An undated photo of Robert Hardison.

WCSO detectives, WCSO forensics and the medical examiner investigated the area where the remains were found and said it appears they have been there for an extended period of time.

Detectives said the suspect in Fronsman’s murder, Robert Hardison, has not been seen since the incident in 2012 and is wanted for aggravated homicide.

Investigators will be submitting DNA from the remains to the Oregon State Crime Lab to determine the identity.

Harvey Brackin has lived in the densely wooded area with his wife for more than 50 years and said he was friends with Fonsman and her husband, who was with Brackin when she died. Detectives said Hardinson was living in a mobile home on the property and Brackin just missed him on the day Theresa died.

“We had been gone bowling when it happened,” Brackin said. “If we had been just 20 minutes sooner, we would have saw him leaving.”

Hardinson was suspected in her death and a warrant was issued for his arrest, but some believe he left the scene of the crime and went into the woods, leaving evidence behind.

“His car was there, and there was blood in his car, so they knew he’d been wounded,” Brackin said. “Just after it all happened, well it snowed that weekend. You could send 100 people back there and probably not find anything.”

He thinks the woods hid Hardinson’s body from anyone who may have been searching for him.

On December 18, 2012, the Hillsboro Tribune reported:

According to the sheriff’s office, on Dec. 12, (Theresa) Fronsman’s 51-year-old husband James placed an emergency call to report that he found his wife deceased in their home when he returned from an outing. Sheriff’s deputies responded to the home, which is in a rural area in northern Washington County north of the city of North Plains.

When the deputies arrived, they found there were many suspicious circumstances involved in the incident. The cause of death was not immediately identified. … The next day, the Medical Examiner determined the cause of death to be homicidal violence. …

Detectives are looking for (50-year-old Robert) Hardison because they believe he may have information critical to this investigation. He has not been seen or heard from since the afternoon of December 12.

According to the sheriff’s office, this is not considered to be a random crime and investigators do not believe the person who committed the homicide to be a danger to the public.

The Hillsboro Tribune is a media partner with KOIN 6 News. KOIN 6 News will have more information soon.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office investigated a body found in rural North Plains on November 3, 2017. (WCSO)
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office investigated a body found in rural North Plains on November 3, 2017. (WCSO)