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Sheriff's Office investigates murder of couple found in Mt. Hood National Forest

The two were discovered at a place commonly used for target shooting, according to investigators.

Posted: Aug 14, 2019 11:38 AM
Updated: Aug 14, 2019 1:58 PM

ESTACADA, Ore. — New details are beginning to emerge in the case of a man and woman found dead at a remote "shooting pit" in the Mt. Hood National Forest on Monday.

Deputies responded to the area off 4615 Road and the 130 Spur in the Mt.Hood National Forest on Monday morning following a 911 call reporting the discovery of two bodies. The area is described as a gravel pit often used for recreational shooting.

The same day, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office released a statement announcing an investigation into the suspicious deaths of both individuals.

On Wednesday, the Sheriff's Office identified the couple as 42-year-old Stacy Jean Rickerd and 43-year-old Jeremy David Merchant, both of Estacada. An autopsy by the local medical examiner confirmed that they died of "homicidal violence."

The crime scene around the shooting pit was processed and cleared the same day, the Sheriff's Office said.

Investigators found a dog alive at the scene, apparently belonging to the couple. Family members later identified the dog as Talladega.

"Deputies and investigators devised a unique plan to safely capture Talladega when they first encountered him at the crime scene," the Sheriff's Office said. "Deputies flew the CSI team's four-prop drone nearby to distract the dog while slipping a catch-pole around the animal's neck."

A deputy described Talladega as a "sweet dog," and the Sheriff's Office said that he appeared to be unharmed. After an initial transfer to Clackamas County Dog Services, he was placed with family members of Rickerd and Merchant.

The Sheriff’s Office continues to seek more information in the case. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Office Tip Line — by phone at 503-723-4949 or by using the online email form at https://web3.clackamas.us/contact/tip.jsp. Reference CCSO Case #19-018794.

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