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Forty-Year-Old Oregon Cold Case Closed After Husband and Prime Suspect Dies By Suicide

The 40-year-old cold case of Nancy McEvers' suspicious death has been closed, the Washington County Sheriff's Office announced after the victim's husband and detectives' prime suspect Randy McEvers died by suicide.


By Christina Coulter
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The 40-year-old cold case of Nancy McEvers' fatal shooting was closed last week after her husband and the case's prime suspect, Randy McEvers, died by suicide last month, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Office in Oregon.

Detectives believed that Randy killed his wife in 1983 because she planned to leave him, according to reporting by Law and Crime.

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Last week, the Sheriff's Office announced that the case against Randy was closed after the 70-year-old suspect died by suicide on Feb. 8. The long-cold investigation had been reopened in August of last year, and detectives had interviewed Randy in January of this year.

Interviews with 20 additional people, including emergency responders and sources who knew the couple, had given detectives new evidence, the Washington County Sheriff's Office wrote in a press release.

Cold Case victim Nancy McEvers

But even in 1983, Detective Anel Cerić wrote in an email to Law & Crime, "multiple sources [told detectives that] Randy was planning on killing Nancy for wanting a separation and divorce."

One of those sources was the mother of Randy's best friend and co-worker, Cerić told the outlet. Another was one of Nancy's coworkers, who Cerić said has since died.

“The lead investigator in 1983 is now deceased, so I was unable to speak to him as to why the case was suspended and not investigated further. So are almost all of his superiors and fellow detectives,” Cerić told Law & Crime.

On Jan. 2, 1983, then-30-year-old Randy called 911 to summon authorities to their home in the Durham neighborhood, telling dispatchers that his 28-year-old wife had committed suicide. Save their 1-year-old son, the couple had been alone in the home.

First responders found Nancy with a bullet hole in her head. She was soon pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

At the time, the husband told deputies two different stories, according to Cerić.

“First version was that there was a struggle over the gun and that he was unsure who pulled the trigger,” the detective wrote to Law & Crime. 

Contradicting himself, Randy also told investigators that he walked into a room in their home as Nancy shot herself dead, and that there was no struggle.

Investigators quickly determined that Nancy's death could not have been a suicide. According to Cerić, the Oregon State Police Crime Lab determined that Nancy had no gunshot residue on her hands, that the distance between the gun's muzzle and Nancy's wound was too wide to be consistent with a suicide and that charred particles on her clothing indicated she had tried to defend herself.

“All those results concluded that the gunshot could not be self-inflicted,” Cerić wrote.

Randy refused to cooperate with authorities after the 1983 incident. When approached at his home in Tigard with additional evidence in January, he told detectives that he had gone to hypnotherapy to forget the events of that day. 

In a suicide note found at the scene of Randy's death, Cerić said, the suspect denied responsibility for his late wife's death.

Washington County Sheriff's Office deputies are still searching for anyone with further information on Nancy's death or on the couple. Anyone with relevant information is asked to call detectives at 503-846-2700.

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