Family Members Fight Over Legacy of Sarah Gomez

The family of Sara Gomez held a private memorial for the 24-year-old murder victim last Monday with all of the expenses paid by the Deschutes County Crime Victims’ Assistance Fund.

That’s why some of Sara’s family and friends came forward to talk to Central Oregon Daily when they found out that Sara’s cousin was holding a fundraiser for Sara this weekend, despite repeated requests by them to not raise money in Sara’s name.

Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan has details on this ongoing family feud over the legacy of Sara Gomez.

On Friday afternoon, Liz Fennel told Central Oregon Daily that there will no longer be a fundraiser on Saturday due to harassing phone calls that were made to the location where the fundraiser was supposed to take place.

Fennell says the public memorial for Sara Gomez is planned for July 22nd in Tumalo State Park.

Penner’s Death Confirmed a Suicide

Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel confirmed that suicide was the cause of death for the man suspected of murdering Sara Gomez. Hummel released a statement disputing the claims of innocents made in the suicide note left behind by Bryan Penner.

Penner hung himself at the Deschutes County Jail on March 11th. He was in custody on charges related to the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend, Sara Gomez.

Gomez’s body was found last week east of Bend roughly four months after she disappeared. On June 6th, the District Attorney also confirmed that Penner left a note on his bunk in the jail, in which he denied killing Gomez and claimed that she had gotten back together with him before she went missing.

Hummel released the following statement Wednesday:

“I continue to be respectful of Bryan Penner’s family as they grieve his death, and disdainful of Bryan Penner for what he did to Sara Gomez. I’ve previously expressed by contempt for Mr. Penner killing Sara. My contempt deepens because in his suicide note he had the gall to claim Sara got back together with him before he killed her. In Sara’s final months of life, she fled an abusive relationship, filed for a restraining order and bean a new relationship. Penner could not accept that Sara had moved on with her life, and this is why he brutally murdered her. Shame on him for thinking he could rewrite the final chapter of her life.” 

The Search for Sara Continues

It’s been nearly two months since Bend resident Sara Gomez was last seen, and even though the prime suspect in her disappearance is now dead, Sara’s family and friends continue to look for her.

Central Oregon Daily’s Austin Reed has been following this case from the beginning and caught up with the family today as they get ready for another search this weekend.

Bend police detectives are also still taking tips and hope to come up with any new clues in the case.

The Search for Sara Continues

Friends and family of missing Bend woman are continuing the search despite the death of the only suspect in her disappearance.

Fundraisers and calls for volunteers to help search for 24-year-old Sara Gomez are on-going and a search is planned again for this weekend. Gomez has been missing since February 19 and her ex-boyfriend Bryan Penner was arrested for violating a restraining order Gomez had filed against him in December.

Penner died Monday after hanging himself in the Deschutes County Jail, an incident that is currently being investigated, but according to Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel, his death does make the search for Gomez more difficult.

Ex-Boyfriend of Missing Woman Dies from Apparent Suicide

UPDATE MONDAY 11:34 A.M. – The Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office confirmed this morning that Bryan Michael Penner died at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend Monday morning at 8:11 a.m.

“Without the heroic efforts of Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Deputies, a Corrections Nurse, and Emergency Medical Technicians from the Bend Fire Department, Penner would have died last night at the jail.  The focused, competent, and heroic efforts of this team of dedicated and professional public servants gave Penner a fighting chance for life,” said Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel in a statement released Monday morning. 

 “We are thinking of Mr. Penner’s family,” said Corrections Captain Michael Shults in a statement. “Our staff are trained in the signs of suicide and suicide prevention.  Penner has been in the jail since February 22nd and showed no signs of being suicidal or having suicidal ideations.  After being evaluated by Sheriff’s Office mental health professionals, he was housed in a dorm setting.  Penner has been in the jail on ten occasions since 2007, most recently from December 11th, 2017 through January 6th, 2018, and has never shown any signs or indications of being a suicide risk.”

 Penner is the sole suspect in the disappearance of 24-year-old Sarah Gomez and, according to the District Attorney’s Office his death makes the search for her more challenging. 

“Unfortunately, as the search for Sarah extended from hours, to days, to weeks, it became obvious we are searching for her body and she will not be found alive,” said Hummel in his statement released Monday.  “With Penner’s passing our chances of quickly finding Sarah plummeted.  I encourage everyone in Deschutes County to report to law enforcement any suspicious tire tracks, earthen mounds, or other potential evidence they might see on their property.  Sarah’s family is counting on our community to bring her home.”

Authorities are still investigating the incident at the Deschutes County Jail on Sunday night that led to Penner’s death. According to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office 31-year-old Penner was taken to St. Charles Bend after another inmate found him unconscious.

Penner was arrested in connection with the disappearance of 24-year-old Sara Gomez and remains in custody on a Contempt of Court charge.
The Sheriff’s Office released this statement at 3 a.m. Monday morning. 

“On March 11, 2018, at about 8:40 pm, Inmate Bryan Michael Penner was discovered by another Inmate after an apparent suicide attempt in one of the jail housing units. The Inmate then alerted corrections staff. Corrections deputies and a corrections nurse responded and immediately began life-saving efforts, which continued until emergency medical personnel with the Bend Fire Department arrived. The Bend Fire Department has transported Penner to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend.”

According to the press release Sheriff Nelson said he had requested the Oregon State Police lead this investigation and the Deschutes County Major Incident Team will assist.

The Search for Sara Continues

Friends and Family of Missing Bend Woman Conducting Coordinated Search on East Side of Bend

Friends and family of Sara Gomez met at Big Sky Park at 8am on Saturday morning with a group of more than 50 volunteers to conduct a coordinated search for the missing 24-year-old woman.

Organizers showed the group a map of possible areas to search, and everyone broke up into teams to look in different areas.
Gomez was last seen on Monday, February 19, outside her workplace at Albertson’s in Bend, and Bend Police have been supervising searches at the Knott Landfill on the southeast side of Bend and have asked residents who live east of the intersection of Hamby and Ward to search their private properties for any possible evidence related to the disappearance of Gomez.

Search for Sara

The Search Continues for Missing Bend Woman

We have breaking developments in the search for 24-year old Bend resident, Sara Gomez. Central Oregon Daily’s Austin Reed joined us from Knott Landfill on the Southeast side of Bend, where police have been supervising a search using excavators and loaders all day on Thursday.

Meanwhile, at Deschutes County Circuit Court on Thursday , 31-year old Bryan Penner appeared before Judge Michael Adler via video conference.

The D.A still believes Penner is connected but penner still won’t say anything.
Investigators are now asking residents who live east of Hamby and Ward roads to check their property for anything suspicious, including abandoned structures, open fields, ponds and other water sources.

Friends and family of Sara are also organizing a search on Saturday morning at 8 a.m. starting from Big Sky Park.


Bend Police Ask for Public’s Help in Search for Missing Bend Woman

On Thursday afternoon, Bend Police issued an update on the investigation into the disappearance of 24-year-old Bend resident Sara Gomez.
Investigators are asking residents who live east of Hamby and Ward roads to check their property for anything suspicious.
Here is the full release from Bend Police:

“During the course of this investigation, we have found information that has led detectives to believe there could be evidence related to Sara Gomez’s disappearance east of Bend. We are asking residents who live east of Hamby and Ward Roads to check their property for anything suspicious. We are asking to check abandoned structures, open fields, ponds and other water sources. We are asking for residents to check for tire tracks, shoe prints or anything out of the ordinary. If you find anything suspicious, please contact Bend Police Detectives at 541-693-6911.”