▶️ August double homicide still under investigation; lack of evidence to blame

By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

While a suspect has been charged in last weekend’s double homicide, there is still another Bend double homicide case that needs to be solved.

Natasha Newby and Ray Atkinson were murdered in their home near Pilot Butte last summer, and it’s still under investigation.

“As of right now we have insufficient evidence to charge anyone,” John Hummel, Deschutes County District Attorney said. “But I hope that changes.”

There is a suspect in this case, but no arrest has been made.

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Hummel says what’s missing is evidence that proves without a reasonable doubt who did it.

“If we move forward now with a little bit of evidence and our suspect is found not guilty at trial, if we get new evidence the day after trial, we can’t go back and try them again,” Hummel said. “So you only get one shot at this and you need to get it right.”

Hummel says in the seven months since the two murders, his team has worked the case every day and the lack of filed charges doesn’t reflect what goes on behind the scenes.

“It happens to be that we’ve had three homicides close in time that have required more investigation, so that’s standing out to the public,” Hummel said. “But it’s not because anything has changed, it’s because these cases have required more investigation than previous cases.”

Hummel adds that Bend’s most recent double homicide does not put more or less pressure on the District Attorney’s Office to solve the case from August.

It’s still a matter of needing better evidence.

“We go as soon as we can possibly go while ensuring the Constitution is complied with,” Hummel said. “And while ensuring we have sufficient evidence so guilty people will not walk free.”

Hummel does not believe the current suspect is a threat to the community.

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