PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Authorities are looking for more information on the unsolved death of a Portland hiker who was found dead on a Washington state trail with his dog in 2022. Despite officials identifying two people in connection with the case, no arrests have been made.
During an August 2022 camping trip with friends at Walupt Lake Campground, 49-year-old Aron Christensen and his dog took a solo hike with plans to return the next day. On Aug. 18 Christensen and his dog were found dead by hikers on a trail.
“Lewis County sheriffs not only didn’t treat the area as a possible crime scene, they rejected the offer or support from homicide detectives. After botching the investigation, they went on to say Aron died of a heart attack, then a puncture wound then laced marijuana – none of which they had evidence of,” said “Murder in the Rain” podcast co-host Alisha Holland.
A medical examiner later determined Christensen died of a gunshot wound to his chest.
Ethan Michael Asbach, 20, of Tenino and a 17-year-old female from Rochester were both recommended for charges of first-degree manslaughter and animal cruelty. Officials said the two told police they heard what they thought was a wild animal and fired a single shot, later finding a man and his dog dead, before continuing their hike and leaving the woods the next day.
Holland said the investigation hasn’t yielded enough information to bring charges.
“We would’ve like to have seen this come to an end a week after it happened. They had all the information they needed,” said Kate Meredith, a close friend of Christensen. “We get little pieces of information then nothing happens and nothing happens, and still, nothing really has happened.”
Months after Christensen’s death, the case was transferred back and forth between the prosecuting attorney’s office and sheriff’s office without an arrest.
Lewis County officials previously told KOIN 6 News detectives received cell phone mapping data from the day Christensen died as part of their ongoing investigation. But they didn’t go into further detail about the data and why it was needed if the suspects admitted to the shooting.
Those with information on the case are encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers of Washington.
Christensen’s former bands, Supplemental Pills and Hearts of Oak, came together to write a song in his memory, “Between the Harvest and the Hunter’s Moon” with proceeds going to his family’s GoFundMe.
“He was a really big part of our lives and having that big hole, it’s been really hard not knowing what’s happening, what’s going on,” said Meredith.