Police: Bodies in Portland park are missing teen, man

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PORTLAND — Two bodies found in a forested park in Portland have been identified as a missing 15-year-old girl and a 23-year-old man who was the subject of a sexual abuse investigation involving the teen, police said Friday.

Autopsies confirmed the bodies were those of Annieka Vaughan, of Aloha, Oregon, and Zachary Petersen, of Pasco, Washington.

The bodies were found Wednesday by a cadaver dog about 80 feet (24 meters) off a steep trail in Forest Park, hidden from sight in a tree well, authorities have said.

Evidence recovered during the autopsies showed that Petersen shot Vaughan and then shot himself, police said Friday in a news statement.

Vaughan ran away Oct. 30 and Petersen disappeared the same day after calling a crisis line in his hometown.

He was believed to be armed and suicidal and was under investigation in a sex abuse case in which Vaughan was the alleged victim, authorities have said.

Someone spotted Petersen’s truck on Monday in a gravel lot in Forest Park that was about a 10-minute walk from where their bodies were later discovered.

Vaughan’s backpack was inside the abandoned truck.

In Washington state, Benton County Sheriff’s Sgt. Bob Brockman told the Tri-City Herald that Petersen was under investigation for child rape after the two were found having sex in a car near Kennewick last month. The relationship started in August, he said.

The sheriff’s office was about to send the case to prosecutors in Washington state when Vaughan and Petersen went missing, Brockman said.

Brockman did not immediately return an e-mail from The AP on Friday.