News Release from: Clackamas Co. Sheriff's Office
Posted: March 3, 2016, 8:58 a.m.
- Victim Katherine Rusk: [ 1 ] [ 2 ]
- Driver Brian Schaffer, 53, of Estacada
- Accident Reconstructionist Deputy Funk using the FARO scanner at the death-investigation scene in Boring
- Involved vehicle: white 2008 Ford F-150, 2-door, with a full-size ladder rack
UPDATE (September 27, 2016, 9:16 a.m.): Following thorough investigation, Brian Schaffer will not be charged in March 2 fatal accident
Please reference CCSO Case #16-5803
Following an in-depth investigation that confirmed his alibi, Clackamas County Sheriff's Office detectives and the Clackamas County DA's Office have cleared Brian Schaffer of suspicion -- and will NOT press charges against him -- in a March 2 incident in which Schaffer's truck struck and killed Katherine Rusk.
The case began on March 3, 2016 at 6:39 a.m., when citizens first called 911 after finding Rusk's body on the side of the road at SE 282nd Ave. and SE Haley Rd. in Clackamas County, Oregon.
The Criminal Reconstruction and Forensic Team (CRAFT), Crime Scene Investigators (CSI) and Homicide and Violent Crimes Unit (HVCU) detectives responded to the scene and determined that Ms. Rusk had been hit by a vehicle -- most likely a 2004 to 2008 Ford F150 truck -- the night before, on March 2.
The Sheriff's Office also put out a call to the public for tips. Among those who called in: Brian Schaffer, 53, of Estacada. He believed he might have relevant information, and agreed to an interview with detectives.
Detectives had already learned Schaffer had been driving his work vehicle in the area, en route home from a job site. Schaffer told detectives he had hit what he believed was a deer. He said he then turned his vehicle around to look for the deer, but did not see anything. This incident had happened around 7 p.m. March 2, on 282nd Ave near Haley Rd. The street was unlit, and it had been raining heavily at the time. Conditions were such that numerous other cars drove through the area before Rusk's body was discovered nearly 12 hours later.
Detectives launched a dogged investigation. They obtained search warrants for Mr. Schaffer's residence, person and financial records. They inspected the involved truck, where items of evidence were seized. Detectives also canvassed the neighborhood of the crash scene, Schaffer's work and the neighborhood surrounding his residence. They obtained surveillance video from nearby businesses and examined Schaffer's Internet search history from his computer.
But it was a piece of navigation technology that proved crucial in the case -- and fully corroborated Schaffer's explanation of events.
A Garmin GPS unit was located in the vehicle -- and the data from this unit confirmed the path stated by Mr. Schaffer, in the timeframe he reported. Garmin data showed that the truck's path of travel conformed precisely with Schaffer's description of events. Investigators further determined that Schaffer had consumed no drugs or alcohol, was not texting while driving, and had had a reasonable amount of sleep at the time his vehicle struck Ms. Rusk.
Investigators uncovered further evidence that Ms. Rusk had consumed alcohol prior to the incident, and had been seen walking in the roadway.
Further questions can be directed to the Clackamas County DA, who agreed with investigators after a thorough evaluation of the facts that criminal charges should not be pursued.
Earlier news releases in this case are reposted below.
EARLIER (Monday, March 7, 3:45 p.m.) -- DRIVER NAME RELEASED, TIPS SOUGHT
The driver of the Ford truck in the investigation has been identified as Brian Schaffer, 53, of Estacada. Detectives have spoken with Mr. Schaffer and executed multiple search warrants.
Mr. Schaffer is not considered a suspect at this time, but criminal charges have not been ruled out pending the results of the investigation.
This is a very active investigation and detectives are still seeking tips.
The Sheriff's Office is seeking information from the public on Mr. Schaffer's whereabouts on Wednesday, March 2 and Thursday, March 3. A photo Mr. Schaffer is linked above.
Anyone with information on Brian Schaffer's whereabouts during that time period is urged to contact us using the Sheriff's Office Tip Line -- by phone at 503-723-4949 or by using the online email form. Please reference CCSO Case #16-5803.
EARLIER (Saturday, March 5, 2016, 9:43 a.m.) -- VEHICLE, DRIVER IDENTIFIED; TIPS SOUGHT
Clarification: The above-linked photo of the vehicle involved in this investigation is a photo of the actual involved pickup truck -- which is a white 2008 Ford F-150, 2-door with a full-size ladder rack.
The pictured vehicle is in the control of the investigators for further forensic analysis.
The driver of the vehicle has been identified, and detectives have spoken with the driver.
TIPS SOUGHT: Anyone who saw this vehicle in the area of SE 282nd Avenue near Haley Road in the evening of Wednesday, March 2, 2016 is asked to contact us using the Sheriff's Office Tip Line -- by phone at 503-723-4949 or by using the online email form. Please reference CCSO Case # 16-5803.
EARLIER (Friday, March 4, 2016, 6:38 p.m.) PHOTO OF INVOLVED VEHICLE; CAUSE OF DEATH; TIPS SOUGHT
Investigators have worked tirelessly since the body of Katherine Rusk was discovered by the side of the road in Boring early Thursday morning.
Detectives are now asking for information from anyone that saw the vehicle in the above-linked photo in the area of SE 282nd Avenue and SE Haley Road: a white 2008 2-door Ford F-150 work truck with a full-size ladder rack.
Anyone with information is asked to please contact us using the Sheriff's Office Tip Line -- by phone at 503-723-4949 or by using the online email form. Please reference CCSO Case # 16-5803.
The incident is now believed to have occurred in the early evening of Wednesday, March 2.
Today's autopsy confirmed the initial information that Ms. Rusk died from head trauma when she was struck by a vehicle.
EARLIER (Thursday, March 3, 2016, 3:20 p.m.) -- VICTIM NAME RELEASED; TIPS SOUGHT
Family notifications are complete. The victim in this death investigation can now be identified as Katherine Rusk, 38, of Astoria, Oregon. Two photos of Ms. Rusk are linked above.
We continue to seek tips that can help us understand and possibly make an arrest in Ms. Rusk's death, which may be the result of a hit-and-run. Investigators want to hear from anyone with information about Katherine Rusk and her death, and also about vehicles in the area of SE 282nd Avenue near SE Haley Road in Boring in the past 24 hours -- as well as any vehicles with fresh unexplained damage that could be the result of a hit-and-run. Anyone with information is urged to contact us using the Sheriff's Office Tip Line -- by phone at 503-723-4949 or by using the online email form. Please reference CCSO Case # 16-5803.
EARLIER (March 3, 2016, 11:30 a.m.) -- NEW DETAILS; TIPS SOUGHT
Please reference CCSO Case # 16-5803
Detectives working on the deceased person at 282nd Avenue and Haley Road have provided additional details and a key correction:
1. Contrary to initial 911 reports given to police, the deceased person found at the scene is female, not male. This information has also been updated below.
2. The deceased female has been identified, and efforts to notify next of kin are currently underway. However, no contact with family members has been made at this writing, so it is unknown how long notification will take.
3. The autopsy has not been completed yet. However, preliminary indications are that this death was caused by the victim being struck by a vehicle. Investigators are exploring the possibility that the death may have been caused by a felony hit-and-run; however, until all information has been received -- including autopsy results -- nothing has been ruled out.
4. TIPS SOUGHT -- Investigators want to hear from anyone with information about vehicles in the area of SE 282nd Avenue near SE Haley Road in Boring in the past 18 hours -- as well as any vehicles with fresh unexplained damage that could be the result of a hit-and-run. Anyone with information is urged to contact us using the Sheriff's Office Tip Line -- by phone at 503-723-4949 or by using the online email form. Please reference CCSO Case # 16-5803.
5. The road has been re-opened.
EARLIER (Thursday, March 3, 2016, 8:58 a.m.)
On Thursday, March 3, 2016 at about 6:45 a.m., Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Patrol deputies responded to calls of a deceased person on the side of the road on SE 282nd Avenue near SE Haley Road in Boring, Oregon.
Currently, members of the Homicide and Violent Crimes Unit (HVCU) and the Criminal Reconstruction and Forensics Team (CRAFT) are working with the Clackamas County Medical Examiner to investigate the death.
No details about the death are currently available.
At this time, the Clackamas County Road Department has assisted the investigation by closing SE 282nd Avenue between Highway 212 and SE Haley Road in Boring. The duration of that closure is currently unknown.
NOTE TO MEDIA: Sgt. Sean Collinson is available for media at scene. Reporters needing to locate him should approach from the north on 282nd.
Sgt. Dan Kraus
Office of Public Information
Clackamas County Sheriff's Office