The friends of a recent Oberlin College graduate who allegedly attacked and killed his mother, grandparents and a caregiver on Friday say that by all accounts, he was a completely normal guy.
Orion Krause was naked and muddy when he calmly walked up to his grandparents’ neighbors house, CBS reports, and said he had “just murdered four people.”
The four victims, Elizabeth Krause, 85-year-old Elizabeth Lackey, 89-year-old Frank Lackey III and 68-year-old Bertha Mae Parker, were soon after found dead in the family home and outside on the lawn, CBS Boston reports.
On Monday, Krause was taken to a local hospital while his competency hearing in court is still pending.
“I’ve known him all my life. I grew up with him all my life,” Wolfgang Boegel, who said he likely met Krause when he was just 2 years old, told Oxygen.com Tuesday. “It was the most shocking news I’ve ever heard in my entire life.”
Another friend, fellow classmate at Oberlin Ethan Rode, described a soft-spoken and exceptionally talented student. While the news came as a surprise to him, Rode said that "mental illness sucks and it can often go undetected." He also urged that “anyone experiencing mental health concerns should seek help and treatment immediately.”
Boegel said he and Krause are longtime friends, and he couldn’t count the number of times he’d hung out at Krause’s house, located in the small Maine town of Rockport. They attended high school together, which Boegel said typically has about 700 students enrolled each year.
“Pretty much everyone knows everyone. Most everyone in the high school knows who everyone is,” Boegel said. Yet, when news of the alleged murders spread through their hometown, it took everyone by surprise.
“Everyone I talked to is pretty much in shock and disbelief,” Boegel said. “My friends when I called them didn’t believe it was true.”
Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan described officials’ understanding of the event in a press conference Monday, saying Krause may have placed a distressed phone call before carrying out the attack.
“Our investigation reveals that at some point late on Friday afternoon, Mr. Krause made a phone call to an individual that is known to him and made statements that were concerning – concerning enough that that individual began to reach out to family members,” Ryan said, adding that police then began to receive calls from neighbors and family members worried about Krause.
When asked if he’d noticed anything strange about Krause lately or any signs something might have been wrong over the years, Boegel said, “I’d never seen anything in my entire life. He was a normal guy. He would call me up, invite me over. He could always make any situation fun. He was a little quiet, but not to his friends.” He added, “They were pretty much my second family.”
Boegel said they'd kept in contact with one another after Krause moved to Ohio for college, spending time together whenever he’d come to town. The last time he spoke with Krause, he said it was a brief conversation—nothing unusual—and that they’d recently played basketball together in their hometown.
“We skied every winter together, played ultimate frisbee together,” Boegel added, describing their shared childhood. “We were both on the team in high school. We would play basketball in the driveway. We had an occasional poker game, we would play more in high school. We liked cards.”
Krause graduated from Oberlin’s Conservatory, a prestigious music program at the Ohio college. He participated in band in high school, and was particularly skilled at the jazz drum, according to CBS.
“I know him as a kind, soft-spoken and mild-mannered guy and a talented musician and composer. What happened is tragic and confusing and upsetting—I don't know if there is any making sense of it,” Rode told Oxygen.
[Photo: Facebook, WBV-TV Boston]
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