PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Months after a Portland hiker and his puppy were found shot to death in Lewis County, Washington, no arrests have been made despite law enforcement publicly identifying the suspects.
In August 2022, Aron Christensen and his puppy Buzzo were found dead on a trail near Walupt Lake. In October, Lewis County officials identified the suspects, but 3 months later neither person has been arrested.
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.
Family and friends continue to wonder why neither has been charged.
“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.”
“It’s been a never-ending kind of cycle of nightmare and worry ever since,” said Ezra Meredith, also a close friend of Christensen. “I definitely want justice for him. Tough to lose a brother like that.”
But months later, the case continues to be transferred back and forth between the prosecuting attorney’s office and sheriff’s office without an arrest. Christensen’s loved ones are frustrated and angry.
Lewis County officials told KOIN 6 News in the last week 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.
“I’m glad they have it, I hope it gives them all the answers that they need to make a really solid case to charge and arrest,” said Kate.
The prosecuting attorney’s office told KOIN 6 that the case has been handed back to them and is being reviewed by prosecutors.
Loved ones said it’s difficult to get closure, but they’re finding ways to honor Christensen’s life and passion for music.
His 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.”
“We’re selling it now and donating all the money to the family to the GoFundMe,” said Ezra. The GoFundMe is now up to $30,000 with proceeds going to an attorney for the family and subsequent investigations.
Through honoring his life, friends said they won’t stop fighting for justice and answers.
“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 Kate.