PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The 2 bodies found near Pittock Mansion on Nov. 8 are those of a 15-year-old runaway from Aloha and a 23-year-old sex abuse suspect from Pasco, Washington, who died in what police believe was a murder-suicide.
Annieka Vaughan was reported missing October 30. She was believed to be with Zachary Petersen — who went missing the same day. The Medical Examiner said Petersen shot and killed the teen and then himself.
Prior to his disappearance, Petersen called the crisis line in Washington. He was believed to be suicidal and possibly in possession of a firearm. He was under investigation in a Benton County sex abuse case.
Petersen’s truck was found in Forest Park on Monday along with Annieka’s backpack.
At a press conference Friday afternoon, Annieka’s father, Rick Vaughan, said he was extremely thankful for everyone involved in finding his daughter.
“At least we got some closure and we’re thankful for that,” Vaughan said.
When asked what he would miss most about his daughter, he said, “I’m going to miss not being able to see her all through high school, get married. I’m going to miss everything that made her so unique and special.”
Vaughan described Annieka as “artistic” and said she had plans to pursue either drawing, singing or acting in the future.
Vaughan’s advice to other parents was to show your kids how much you love them.
“Love your kids, hug your kids, let them know they’re loved, keep them close,” Vaughan said. “Give them the confidence they deserve and show them love.”
Vaughan previously said there was nothing about his daughter’s behavior in the days before she ran away to indicate anything was wrong, and he believed she was being manipulated.
“My gut tells me there’s some major manipulation and grooming going on,” he told KOIN 6 News Tuesday. “There’s a lot beneath the surface that needs to be addressed and there’s a lot of support that needs to happen.”
Their bodies were found by a search dog near the intersection of the Wildwood Trail and the Upper MacLeay Trail. They were found about 80 feet off the trail and not visible to the naked eye, according to police.