Can you help families find closure by providing information about one of these mysteries?
By Cindy Powers / The BulletinPublished: September 13. 2008 4:00AM PST
Right around this time every year, Haley Carson's thoughts turn to a Culver mother of two whose death remains a mystery.
Working at the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office for the past 12 years, Carson has heard her fair share of sad stories.
But Jackalin Thompson disappeared on Carson's birthday - Sept. 1 - seven years ago.
"At the time, our office was in the courthouse in the basement, and it was a much smaller space, and that's where we hung her missing photo," Carson said. "So we looked at that photo every day. And we don't get a lot of missing people, who leave their baby in the middle of the night."
Thompson's husband, Steven Thompson, said his wife suffered from insomnia and sometimes went for a drive at night until she could fall asleep.
But that night, she walked away from her Minton Lane home to take a walk on Juniper Butte and never came back.
At the time, the Thompsons' youngest daughter was just a year old.
Mushroom pickers found Jackalin Thompson's remains 25 miles outside of Madras in May 2003, but the cause of her death remains undetermined.
"One of our detectives kept her photo hanging up for quite some time," Carson said. "A photo of her and her baby."
No matter how many years pass - or, in some cases decades - local investigators say they'll never give up on a missing person or unsolved murder.
"We have a white board in our office where we put the names of these people, and we use it as a daily reminder to never forget them," said Lt. Kevin Dizney, of the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office. "Families remain waiting to have closure on these cases, and that's truly our goal."
Dizney's office has a squad of cold case volunteers - three part-time former detectives who spend two days a week retracing old leads and looking for new ones.
"In (one missing person case) they looked at every lead up to and including Ted Bundy and back, even though there was no objective link there," Dizney said.
But more than a dozen missing persons and murder cases remain unsolved in Central Oregon, and investigators say keeping them in the public eye may be the key to finding out what happened to the missing and dead.
The following is a synopsis of each case based on information from earlier Bulletin reports and local authorities as well as whom to contact with information.
Bend Police Department
Detectives with the Bend Police Department have four unsolved murder cases open, one that dates back more than 45 years.
1 - Judy Reeder: Reeder was last seen the evening of Feb. 1, 1962 - the night before children playing in Drake Park found the body of the 17-year-old Bend High School homecoming princess under the footbridge in
4 inches of water.
Reeder had driven her '55 Ford sedan downtown and parked along Riverside Boulevard at about 10 p.m. She was never seen alive again.
An autopsy showed she had been struck in the head 13 times, possibly with a two-by-four , but the murder weapon was never recovered.
Evidence at the scene showed that Reeder was dragged to an area near the rock retaining wall of the pond. Investigators never determined how she ended up in the water.
Plaster casts of tennis and hard-soled shoes were taken from the mud near her body.
Those who knew her best said Reeder had been depressed in the months leading up to her death and that her grades had been on the decline.
Reeder stood 5 feet 3 inches and had long brown hair and blue eyes. Police have interviewed more than 500 witnesses in the case, including a half-dozen former boyfriends, but have no solid leads.
2 - Mary Jo Templeton: Templeton's dismembered body was discovered April 30, 1979, after a Pacific Power and Light employee found a human thigh on the grates above the turbines at the north end of Drake Park's Mirror Pond.
A scuba team searched the area below the power station there and found additional body parts. The rest of her body was found several weeks later in the waters of Mirror Pond.
A state medical examiner found that Templeton's body had been cut apart with a heavy knife. He estimated that her body had been in the water for a day or two when her thigh was found.
Her last known address was at the El-Rancho Motel in Redmond, and she had worked as a waitress and hostess in Redmond and Bend.
The last person to speak with Templeton was a friend in The Dalles whom she called April 26, 1979.
Templeton stood 5 feet 4 inches, weighed 110 pounds and often wore a black wig over her auburn hair.
In 1988, a detailed description of the murder was sent to the FBI's violent crimes clearinghouse, which found the method of her killing matched four homicides in Missouri and two in Tennessee. Those murders remain unsolved.
3 - John C. Talbott: Talbott was shot, apparently randomly, on the night of July 7, 1979, while playing pool with his girlfriend at the Westside Tavern in Bend.
Talbott was standing near the back of the bar, holding a pool cue and a glass of wine when witnesses heard a loud pop at about 10:30 p.m. from the back door. Talbott, 49, fell backward and collapsed to the floor clutching his chest.
An autopsy showed that a .38-caliber shot through his lung killed him.
A woman near Talbott at the time of the shooting told authorities that she heard a car door slam and saw headlights come on at a nearby gas station but could not provide additional details.
4 - Thomas Michael Gaines: Gaines, 43, was found shot to death in the backyard of Gene Rhodes' southeast Bend home on the evening of Feb. 2, 1986.
Rhodes noticed that a rock had been thrown through his bathroom window at about
10 p.m. and called police. He then grabbed a gun and his dog and searched the area around his home.
Rhodes found Gaines lying dead in his backyard.
Gaines had been shot in the chest, stomach and back with a .38-caliber gun.
Contact: Bend Police Department at 541-322-2960 or the after-hours nonemergency dispatch number, 541-693-6911.
Crook County Sheriff's Office
5 - Jerry Dale Calhoun: Calhoun's wife was the last person to see him before he disappeared from his Prineville home on May 30, 1999.
Calhoun's brother found his blue 1990 Subaru wagon on U.S. Highway 26 about 30 miles west of Maupin near Mount Hood on June 5, 1999. His family reported him missing and search teams from Wasco and Clackamas counties canvassed the area.
Calhoun, who would now be 53, has never been found.
Calhoun was reportedly depressed before he disappeared and had gone missing for days at a time in the past.
Calhoun is white with brown hair and eyes and stands 6 feet 10 inches tall. He weighed 165 pounds when he was last seen. He has scars on his chin and shoulder.
Contact: Crook County Sheriff's Office at 541-447-6398.
Deschutes County Sheriff's Office
6 - Susan Wickersham: A 17-year-old Bend High student when she disappeared July 11, 1973, Wickersham was last seen walking in the downtown Bend area.
Wickersham had dropped her mother's car off at the Sage Room Restaurant next to the Tower Theatre around 11:30 p.m. She was expecting a friend to pick her up but left on foot when the friend didn't arrive.
Investigators have been told that she started out walking toward the Owl Rexall Drug on Wall Street, north of the theater. They now believe that she may have decided to walk to the Deschutes River Woods area.
Most of Wickersham's remains were found three years later near what is now a truck weigh station on the east side of U.S. Highway 97 near Deschutes River Woods . A man out looking for firewood found Wickersham's skull, which showed she had been shot once in the head.
Investigators searched the area and found most of her skeleton, but have not solved the murder case.
7 - Baby Doe: On May 20, 1986, a garbage collector working in the Terrebonne area found the decapitated body of a newborn baby girl in a trash bin near Fergusons Market .
The infant was a full-term white baby with brown hair. She weighed 9 pounds and was 22 inches long and was estimated to be between 12 and 24 hours old when she was killed.
Based on evidence at the scene, investigators believe the baby was murdered within 42 hours of her body's discovery.
8 - Angela Lynn Chan: Chan was last seen alive by her husband, Bruce Chan, who reported dropping her off at their Redmond home on March 27, 1989.
Bruce Chan was on leave for the Easter weekend from his Marine Corps base at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, Calif. He told investigators the couple had spent the day trap shooting in an area off state Highway 126.
Angela Chan's yellow Datsun B-210 was found along the highway near Dry Canyon two days after she disappeared. Her purse and shoes were in the car, which had fuel in the tank.
Chan, who would now be 38, is white with blond hair and blue eyes. She stands 5 feet 2 inches and weighed 120 pounds when she was last seen.
Bruce Chan has since moved back to California, and detectives have not received any new information about her disappearance since July 2003.
9 - Ron Louis Nordstrom: Nordstrom was last seen at his home on Yucca Avenue in Redmond on June 9, 1999.
Nordstrom, who would now be 55, took off on his blue mountain bike and was reported missing by his family five days later.
Nordstrom is white and stands 5 feet 11 inches, with brown hair and eyes. He weighed 150 pounds at the time of his disappearance.
10 - Corwin Charles Osborn: Osborn, of Bellevue, Wash., left from the Devils Lake Trailhead the morning of June 17, 2001, to hike North, Middle and South Sister.
He was last seen by a hiker who passed him on the trail to the summit of South Sister around 7 a.m. - about one hour after he left for the hike. Nordstrom, who would now be 52, had a one-day supply of water and food.
He was scheduled to meet his 76-year-old father at Lava Camp around 9 p.m. that day but never returned from the hike.
Osborn is white with brown hair and blue eyes, stands
5 feet 11 inches and weighed 150 pounds when he disappeared.
Search and rescue volunteers scoured 150 miles of the surrounding wilderness area in the week after Osborn failed to return from the hike, but found nothing.
11 - Gary Alan Larsen: Larsen was last seen by friends with whom he had breakfast at Shari's Restaurant in Redmond on Sept. 16, 2001. The group had been out all night and reportedly spent part of the evening at the Fireside Grille and Lounge.
He had been living with his mother, who reported him missing Sept. 27. Larsen, who would now be 35, drove a white 1995 Dodge pickup with license plate number XTN945. The truck has never been recovered.
He associated with individuals who were known drug users, Lt. Dizney said, but after many interviews, investigators have not linked any of his friends to Larsen's disappearance.
Larsen worked at Hap Taylor & Sons Inc. - now Knife River Corp. - and had many acquaintances in the Redmond area. Larsen is white with brown hair and eyes, and stands 6 feet
3 inches. He weighed 210 pounds before he disappeared.
Contact: Deschutes County Sheriff's Office detectives division at 541-617-3393 or the after-hours nonemergency dispatch line at 541-693-6911.
Jefferson County Sheriff's Office
12 - Jackalin Ann Thompson: The last person to see 28-year-old Jackalin Thompson alive was her husband, Steven Thompson.
He told authorities that she left their Culver home around
1:30 a.m. Sept. 1, 2001, to go for a walk on Juniper Butte.
She never came home.
Steven Thompson later told investigators that he did not go after her because he was watching their two young children. He reported her missing Sept. 2.
In May 2003, mushroom pickers found Jackalin Thompson's remains 25 miles southwest of Madras. Because of extensive decomposition, authorities could not determine the cause or manner of death.
Steven Thompson has said his wife had some enemies in the Portland area but officials have not been able to piece together the circumstances surrounding her disappearance.
Contact: Jefferson County Sheriff's Office at 541-475-6520.
Oregon State Police, Bend office
13 - John Doe: On March 31, 1988, an off-duty Oregon State Trooper and his wife were hiking below some rimrock south of Prineville when they came across skeletal remains of a white male.
Near the bones were a pack of Canadian cigarettes, a cap with a short bill and a large Jack Daniels belt buckle.
The remains have never been identified.
14 - James Phillip Brooks: Brooks, 23, originally of Prineville, was killed instantly when a high-powered rifle shot hit him square in the chest as he stood on a rocky outcropping on ranch property 18 miles northeast of Mitchell.
The Mitchell ranch hand and former rodeo competitor was murdered Sept. 20, 1994, the first murder in 50 years in remote Wheeler County.
He was last seen riding a horse from the Fopiano Ranch where he worked into rugged, wooded terrain. The horse he was riding and a dog that accompanied him returned to the ranch that night.
Brooks' body was discovered two days later on a piney ridge that runs along the north side of a valley known as Waterman Flat , two miles from any road on the 30,000-acre ranch.
Police questioned three bow hunters who were in the area illegally and loggers working on adjacent land.
No arrests have been made.
15 - Shannon Elizabeth Rishel: A Redmond mother of two, Rishel was reported missing by her boyfriend July 9, 1995, when she was 25.
Jeff Gilmore, of Bend, told investigators the two had been driving on a dirt road near the Columbia River town of Rufus when Rishel's white Camaro became high-centered.
Gilmore said he fell asleep and when he woke up the next morning, Rishel was gone.
Authorities found the clothing Gilmore said she was wearing as well as her purse, identification and cigarettes inside the car. Gilmore, then 20, told investigators that Rishel had a change of clothes with her on the night she disappeared.
The area where Rishel's car was found is bordered by 800-foot cliffs and officials have speculated that Rishel may have wandered off and fallen.
Investigators combed the area and an air search was conducted. Diving teams also searched two small ponds but turned up nothing.
16 - Danny Sweet: In January 1996, two antler hunters stumbled across the Prineville resident's skeletal remains in a forest eight miles northeast of Mount Vernon, solving a three-year-old missing persons case.
The Crook County High School graduate was reported missing on Jan. 2, 1993, by Mitchell residents who were the last to see him. He was 31 years old when he disappeared.
Authorities believe they know who killed him and have been reticent to discuss Sweet's disappearance, the cause of his death or any other aspects of the case.
Contact: Oregon State Police, Bend office at 541-388-6213.
Portland Police Bureau
17 - Katie E ggleston: Eggleston, who was born and raised in Redmond, was last seen Aug. 2, 1993, after making a sales presentation at a business near Lloyd Center in northeast Portland that afternoon.
The 22-year-old Oregon State University graduate had only been working for her employer, Allnet Communications, for a few months.
When her car was found at the center by a security guard shortly after midnight, it was unlocked, the keys were in the ignition and Eggleston's purse was on the seat. But a search of the car and the surrounding area gave no clues as to Eggleston's fate.
Her passport, which she had taken from home a few weeks earlier, has never been found and investigators have no solid leads in the case.
Contact: Portland Police Bureau Missing Person's Unit at 503-823-0446
Cindy Powers can be reached at 541-617-7812 or [email protected].