Bodies near Pittock Mansion identified as Aloha teen, suspect
Two bodies found near the Pittock Mansion Wednesday morning are a 15-year-old runaway from Aloha and a 23-year-old sex abuse suspect from Pasco, Wash., the Oregon State Medical Examiner confirmed to KOIN 6 News on Friday.
Annieka Vaughan was reported missing Oct. 30. She was believed to be with 23-year-old Zachary Peterson — who went missing the same day. The Medical Examiner said Peterson shot and killed the teen and then himself.
Vaughan was the victim in a sex abuse investigation involving Peterson.
Peterson's truck was found on Nov. 6 in the 3500 block of Northwest Cornell Road in Portland at the edge of Forest Park. Though the truck was locked, Vaughan's backpack was visible inside.
Their bodies were found by a search dog about 80 feet off a trail near the intersection of the Wildwood Trail and the Upper MacLeay Trail on Wednesday, but police would not identify the two individuals until autopsies had been completed.
"We always had a strong suspicion [Vaughan was with Peterson] and that backpack only confirms our suspicions," Washington County Sheriff spokesperson Jeff Talbot said on Wednesday.
Vaughan had recently enrolled as a student at Aloha High School.
Prior to his disappearance, Peterson called a 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.
At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Annieka's father, Rick Vaughan, said there was nothing about his daughter's behavior in the days before she ran away to indicate anything was wrong, and he believes she is being manipulated.
"My gut tells me there's some major manipulation and grooming going on," he told KOIN 6 News on Tuesday. "There's a lot beneath the surface that needs to be addressed and there's a lot of support that needs to happen."