Husband confesses to killing wife in Lake Oswego
Michael David Winchester confessed to killing his wife Heidi while police investigated a reported homicide in the River Run neighborhood of Lake Oswego last week, court documents show, telling an officer that "I did it, I killed her, she had cancer. She's dead upstairs."
Winchester's statement is included in a probable cause affidavit filed in advance of his arrest Monday afternoon on one count of murder. He was transported from Oregon Health & Science University Hospital to the Clackamas County Jail, where he is being held without bail.
According to the affidavit, Winchester also left a note to his sons in his office. In it, he describes his wife's suffering from terminal cancer and his emotional state and says, "I could not (bear) to watch mom suffer anymore."
LOPD Lt. Darryl Wrisley told The Review this week that police were called to the Winchesters' home near the intersection of River Run Drive and Bass Lane shortly after 4 p.m. on Jan. 30 by the couple's 18-year-old son, who told dispatchers that his father had killed his mother and then tried to commit suicide with a utility knife.
Police searched the house, according to Wrisley and the probable cause affidavit, and found 50-year-old Heidi Anne Winchester dead in the home and her 52-year-old husband in need of medical attention in the garage. According to the Lake Oswego Fire Department, Heidi Winchester's body was found face down on a bedroom floor and was covered in blood. There was also a substantial amount of blood covering the bed and on the floor, the LOFD said.
A small box cutter-style utility knife was found next to her, police said.
Michael Winchester was taken to the hospital at OHSU, where he was held for observation and treatment of his injuries until Monday and then arrested after his release. An autopsy was performed on his wife last week to determine the exact cause of death; it showed that she died from sharp-force trauma, and police say there was no evidence of a break-in or that anyone else was involved in the killing.
Michael Winchester's LinkedIn page says he became a senior claims representative for Mutual of Enumclaw in 2017 after spending 27 years with State Farm. Soccer has been a life-long passion, with stints as a player, coach and fan. In 1984, he was captain of Beaverton High School's state champion soccer team; in 2016, his older son, Michael Jr., won the state title as a player on Lakeridge High's team.
Heidi Winchester, who was also known as Annie, successfully battled Stage 4 rectal cancer in 2011 and went on to form Annie's Cancer Club, a monthly gathering where she and fellow cancer survivors could share their hopes and fears in what she called "a comforting, spiritual and emotionally safe place."
"The most important person (during her recovery) was my husband, Mike," she told The Review in 2012. "He had to be a single parent and also a nurse."
Statements made to the police this week indicate that her cancer had returned and that the prognosis was terminal.
The Clackamas County Major Crimes Team was at the Winchesters' house on Bass Lane for hours on Jan. 30. Wrisley said at the time that officers were with a suspect, although he declined to say whether that suspect was the injured husband. He did say, however, that neither of the couple's two teenage sons, Michael Jr. or Blake, were suspected in the case.
On Tuesday, the boys released a statement through the LOPD, saying they "appreciate all the support we have received in the last few days."
"We ask that you please respect our privacy while we mourn the death of Heidi and focus on supporting each other and our extended family," the statement said. " We will not be accepting any requests from the media for statements or interviews. Please allow us the time and space to heal and move forward."
A private family service will be scheduled for Heidi Winchester, the family said.
The slaying is the first homicide in Lake Oswego since February 2016; the murder charge in that case was later reduced in a plea deal to first-degree manslaughter.
YOU CAN HELP
Community members have started a GoFundMe account to support the Winchesters' sons, Blake and Michael Jr. By midday Thursday, they had raised more than $43,000 toward a $100,000 goal.
Find the page online at tinyurl.com/WinchesterSons.