PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Renee Rickerd was very close with her sister, Stacy, “like best friends. We told each other everything. We did a lot of stuff together.
Stacy, she said, was quiet but bubbly. For 25 years she loved Jeremy Merchant and together they loved their 3 children and new grandson.
“She was all excited, so excited” for her first grandchild. “Pretty neat.”
But Renee is dealing with their sudden loss.
On August 12, Stacy and Jeremy’s bodies were found in the Mount Hood National Forest near Estacada near a gravel pit where people go to shoot guns. Their deaths were ruled homicides and investigators have not identified any suspects.
“It’s hard to talk about,” Renee said. “It sucks.”
She told KOIN 6 News Stacy and Jeremy were likely out in the area collecting spent shell casings and planned to recycle the metal, then use the money to “get their grandson something nice. So, that’s what they were doing.”
Brass picking was something they did for a long time, Renee said.
When their bodies were found, their dog Talladega was nearby, unhurt.
The couple had been together since 1994. They loved the outdoors, camping, fishing, spending time with their families. “They’re 2 peas in a pod, you know. Can’t see one without the other.”
“He’s a good dog, always has been protective of them, all the time, especially my sister,” Renee said. “He’s not doing well now, though. He’s all depressed all the time, sad. He misses them, I think.”
Talladega is now with one of their children.
But Renee is trying to come to grips with their “senseless” deaths, but said she just doesn’t understand why.
“I guess we just want to know why, why. But I don’t think we’ll ever know. Probably not. Even if they caught the person, probably wouldn’t know why.”
She said she has no clue who could do this to her family. “It’s driving me nuts.”
“There’s got to be justice for her, you know, because they didn’t do anything to anybody.”
Detectives with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office told KOIN 6 News they are making some progress with the case but they still need the public’s help.
Renee said it’s been especially tough on the couple’s 3 children, ages 18, 21 and 24.
“They’ve never been to a funeral or had anyone die. They’re trying to go through that process, so it’s very hard.”
She set up a GoFundMe account to help the family through this tough time.
The family would like to have some answers to “maybe heal up a little bit of the heart,” she said. “But it’s never going to heal, but just a little bit. Maybe.”
Renee wants people to know her sister Stacy “had a big heart she cared about her family, her kids and her animals. … She was a very caring person with a big heart.”
There is a private family service for Stacy and Jeremy this weekend.
“She took a piece of our hearts when she left, they both did,” Renee told KOIN 6 News. “A big piece.”
Anyone with any information regarding the ongoing investigation is asked to contact the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office at 503.723.4949 or to go online and reference CCSO case number 19-018794.