10/11/2004 Succor Creek and Leslie Gulch in the Jordan Valley South of Nyssa, Oregon
We went to Ontario, Oregon to investigate the death of Lynda's biological father. All we knew was that he had been shot by police in January, 1980. Because it was Labor Day and the Ontario Library was closed, we went to the Ontario Police Department first. They had no recollection nor record of the incident (a Malheur County Deputy happened to be there and heard the conversation) but they did make a phone call and referred us to an Ontario mortuary to check out a file they had there. It had been edited and was incomplete. We went to the Ontario Library the next day and made copies of the articles in local newspapers regarding the incident. According to newspaper articles, three different agencies were involved in the shooting: the Nyssa Police Department, the Malheur County Sheriff's Office, and the Oregon State Police. Reading further we found out that the Ontario Police Department had been the non-involved investigating agency. We went back to the Ontario Police Department with copies of the articles and they still insisted that there was no record of the event nor recollection even though some of the officers were still working in the department. We went to the Nyssa Police Department the next day and made an apointment to see someone there the following day. When we went in the young officer at the desk said that the chief of police who was an officer at that time of the shooting was gone that day and he "tried" to reach him on his cell phone but couldn't. He did say that all the records should be there except there were some that had been destroyed in a flood some years back. We went to the Malheur County Sheriff's office in Vail and they said they surely would have kept a record of the incident which should be available but they would have to search for it and would call us when they found it. Needless to say, they did not call. We called them a day later and were told that no record existed. The "Blue Wall" was impenetrable at this point. We did talk to the Apple family mentioned in the newspaper articles on whose property it had happened and they were cooperative in giving us details abouth that night when "all hell broke loose" with gunfire from all directions. According to the Apples, he was drunk with a rifle over one shoulder walking back to his home next door and never got the opportunity to react to the order to put his gun down. We were later able to get an autopsy report from the Oregon State Medical Examiner's Office. He was shot in the back of the right thigh and front of his right hand which was down at his side and that shot broke his thigh and nicked his femoral artery. Another shot hit him in the back of his left thigh and broke that bone also. He died 45 minutes later in an Ontario hospital which was only a few minutes away by ambulance. It turns out that they had shot a falling-down drunk (alcohol level .19) twice in the back of the legs. Nobody in these small-town agencies remembers the incident. We went seeking information and had all parties been forthright in providing it we would not have pursued any action. The obvious cover-up upset us and made us surmise that there probably were problems brought out by the Ontario investigation, perhaps even involving disciplinary actions against the officers. Some of the local citizens we talked to did remember. We consider this a police cover-up. We could never contact the Apple family again - they would not return calls. We are sure they got the word to not talk to us any further. The statute of Limitations had caught up with us so there is nothing we can do about it from a wrongful death angle. If we had names of the shooters, we would try to get murder charges brought against them. We have no names. Pursuing this any further would be cost-prohibitive to us and it really wouldn't change anything. Rightfully or wrongfully, he is still dead. I took these pictures in a nearby area when we needed a break from the frustration of dealing with these agencies. All were taken with a Sony Mavica 85 (1.3 MP). This album has been completed and no more pictures will be added.