Missing Aloha teen killed in murder suicide, police say

The dad of a missing Aloha teen who was killed says his daughter was a "beautiful soul."

ALOHA, Ore. – Missing Aloha 15-year-old Annieka Vaughan was found dead in Forest Park earlier this week, the Multnomah County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed Friday.

The body of 23-year-old Zachary Petersen, of Pasco, Washington, was found next to hers.

Each died of a gunshot wound. The medical examiner determined Vaughn was a homicide victim and Peterson shot himself dead. 

Vaughan's father held a press conference Thursday to thank all of the people who helped to find her.

Officers were called Wednesday to the intersection of the Wildwood Trail and the Upper MacLeay Trail, near Pittock Mansion, where search and rescue teams found the two bodies.

A Mountain Wave Search and Rescue dog found the bodies in steep terrain about 80 feet off the trail. Police said the bodies were not visible to the naked eye from the trail. 

The bodies were found as authorities were searching for Vaughan, whom they believed had run away from home with Petersen.

Officers on Monday had found Petersen's pickup in a gravel parking lot on Northwest Cornell Road.

A backpack that belongs to Vaughan was also found inside the truck, which was towed for evidence processing on Monday.

Crews continued the search Monday and Tuesday. Search teams returned to Forest Park at 8 a.m. Wednesday and found the bodies around 8:45 a.m.

Vaughan ran away from her home on Oct. 30. Detectives believed Petersen was sexually abusing her.

Vaughan's father, Rick Vaughan, said his daughter's disappearance was a surprise. There were no indications that she would run away, he said.

"I want her back safe and sound and healthy and an opportunity to be loved and cared about, that's it," he said Tuesday.

Petersen was reported missing to the Pasco Police Department, also on Oct. 30. Before he disappeared, Petersen called a crisis phone line. Detectives believed he was suicidal and he had a gun in his possession.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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