DA: Police are investigating suspicious death

A forensic evaluator with Oregon State Police Crime Lab and Special Investigations Unit is processing evidence in front of the residence on Thursday where a suspicious unattended death happened. The death was reported to the Ontario Police Department at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.

ONTARIO — Neighbors of a residence on the 100 block of Southwest Ninth Avenue in Ontario say police started waking them up at 2 a.m. Thursday asking questions such as whether they had heard anything in the recent hours.

Though Ontario Police officers didn’t clue neighbors in on what had happened, Malheur County District Attorney Dave Goldthorpe confirmed in a phone interview that there is a suspicious unattended death being investigated.

There is no immediate public safety risk, he said.

Ontario Police Lt. Jason Cooper, who is serving as the interim police chief, said a reporting party met with an officer at the police station at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. Since then, a detective, with help from other agencies, has been working around the clock on the case.

Assisting agencies include Oregon State Police, Malheur County Sheriff’s Office, OSP Crime Lab and OSP Special Investigations Unit.

The residence was blocked off overnight and that area was expanded to include the entire block this morning.

“It helps us manage the scene better,” Cooper said, adding that neighbors were free to come and go.

A search warrant was issued for the residence Thursday, Goldthorpe said, and the OSP Crime Lab is on scene at this time where forensic evaluators are combing through and categorizing evidence outside of the residence where the body was found.

An autopsy is in the process of being scheduled, and it will be performed by a medical examiner at the state forensic lab in Clackamas.

The name of the individual died has not been released.

We will follow up with more information as soon as it is made available.

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