Deputies closed the investigation into a woman’s 1983 shooting death, saying that her husband, the primary suspect, died by suicide shortly after they reopened the case and spoke to him.
Back on Jan. 2, 1983, Randal “Randy” McEvers, then 30, called 911 and said that his wife Nancy McEvers née Pepper, 28, died by suicide, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon. Deputies responded at 10:38 a.m. to the 17300 block of SW Rivendell Drive in the Durham neighborhood. They arrived to find Nancy McEvers with a gunshot wound to the head. The couple and their 1-year-old son were the only people home at the time of the incident, deputies said. EMS took Nancy to a nearby hospital. There, she was pronounced dead.
“When Randy talked to deputies on the scene, he provided two different versions of events that led up to the shooting, and detectives were called in to investigate further,” deputies wrote. “They were assisted by the Washington County Medical Examiner’s Office, the Oregon State Police Medical Examiner’s Office, and the Oregon State Police Crime Lab.”
Detectives collected forensic evidence, the sheriff’s office said. There was an autopsy. The gun was tested.
Investigators determined that Nancy did not shoot herself. By April 1983, however, her husband was refusing to cooperate with authorities, according to the sheriff’s office. The investigation eventually petered out due to a lack of other leads, and authorities suspended it in August 1983.
But detectives with the Violent Crimes Unit reopened the cold case in August 2022. They developed new leads, and the Oregon State Police Crime Lab reviewed the evidence and lab results from 1983, determining that the original conclusion was correct: Nancy McEvers’ did not take her own life.
Detectives interviewed more than 20 people, including investigators and firefighters who responded to the 1983 scene, deputies wrote. Investigators also spoke with Randal as recently as January, according to the sheriff’s office. He was living in the city of Tigard, Oregon, at the time, authorities said.
Investigators sent the case to the Washington County District Attorney’s Office for review, but Randal died by suicide on Feb. 8 before prosecutors could review it, authorities said. Accordingly, the sheriff’s office closed the case because their suspect was dead.
Nancy is survived by her son, two sisters, and mother, deputies wrote.
The sheriff’s office said they closed the case but are still open to talking to anyone with information on the couple. Persons with such information can reach deputies at 503-846-2700.
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