PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In the past three weeks, law enforcement agencies are investigating at least four suspected murder-suicide attempts throughout the Portland metro area, leaving eight people dead.
The disturbingly high numbers don’t include numerous recent deaths linked to domestic violence — including a Portland homicide, a Clark County suicide after a police chase, and a suspect killed while he was believed to be stalking an ex-girlfriend near her home.
While domestic violence calls are down in Clark County, they say the number of intimate partner homicides is up. Additionally, the sheriff’s office told KOIN 6 News that the number of murder suicides this year matches that of the last three years combined — CCSO investigated two murder suicides in 2019, one in 2020 and none last year.
“It’s lasting. It’s not just ‘oh my gosh, this is crazy.’ It’s like it’s something that potentially lasts a lifetime,” said Sgt. Chris Skidmore with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.
After investigating two murder-suicides in one week, Skidmore spoke with KOIN 6 about the recent uptick in intimate partner homicides and the Clark County Sheriff’s Office response to deadly domestic violence.
“This year is where we’ve seen the big spike of them. We’ve had three fairly high profile murder-suicide events, just in the last two or three months, which is certainly very different than you can see the stats for the last several years,” he said.
Last week, the sheriff’s office says David Stansbury Jr. shot his wife and baby before turning the gun on himself in Salmon Creek, killing the child and injuring the mother. A day earlier, 73-year-old Carol Rossi and 78-year-old Roberto Rossi were shot and critically injured at their Washougal home, also from an apparent murder-suicide — Carol was pronounced dead at the hospital.
In Portland, the search is on for 43-year-old Jose Caraballo, who detectives suspect murdered his 27-year girlfriend Kathryn Muhlbach last Friday.
“You hear about this kind of stuff, but what you don’t hear about is those (domestic violence) disturbance calls that we go to every day, and all the police and sheriff’s offices all across the region or going to every day. Trying to be able to provide resources, giving people information about protection orders, and trying to be able to help people out. But that’s just what people don’t realize is it is definitely a problem,” Skidmore said.
Skidmore said the agency continues to track these calls and incidents and offer residents help. If you or someone you know is struggling to get help, visit the Multnomah County domestic violence resource page.