PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Nearly a year after a Portland hiker and his puppy were shot and killed last summer in Lewis County, Wash., his family is now pushing for the state to take over the investigation.

Back in April, the Lewis County Prosecuting Attorney announced the two suspects in the case involving Aron Christensen would not be charged in the deaths, citing how the sheriff’s office and other agencies handled the case. 

Christensen and his 4-month-old puppy Buzzo were shot and killed while on an overnight hike during a camping trip near Walupt Lake in Central Washington, last August. However, after months of the investigation going back and forth between multiple agencies and despite recorded interviews where two people admitted to the incident, Lewis County Prosecuting Attorney Jonathan Meyer announced in April that those two suspects identified in their deaths would not be charged with manslaughter or animal cruelty. 

A letter from Meyer to a Lewis County Sheriff’s Office detective cites multiple issues with the case, writing, “the responding deputy made an obvious error when indicating detectives were not needed to respond to the report of a gunshot victim. The error was compounded when his immediate supervisor endorsed the idea.” In another part, he adds, “at the autopsy, the dog was examined with the same instruments that were used for the examination of Mr. Christensen.”

It’s one of the reasons Christensen’s brother, Corey Christensen, is now fighting for an outside agency to take over the investigation, urging the prosecuting attorney or Gov. Jay Inslee to refer the case to the Washington Attorney General. 

“Our mission is to make sure that Aron’s death gets a full and fair investigation,” said Corey. “The prosecutor himself stated that has not happened. So we’re asking the Lewis County prosecutor Jonathan Meyer, or Governor Inslee to refer the matter over to the Washington State Attorney General. And we can’t ever know what happened if the investigation is not concluded with due care, so that’s kind of our main goal.”

Corey says beyond that, he also wants to see some accountability from Lewis County officials and proper training across the board — not just for his family, but for anyone whose case may be handled by the same agencies.

“We want to ensure that the state of Washington has done everything within its means to ensure justice for both Aron and Buzzo. I think the overall kind of crux of it too is when our loved ones go hiking or camping to enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, we need to be assured that they will return home safely. And if that doesn’t happen, we need to also make sure that law enforcement acts with appropriate measure, skill, and training and to ensure that bad actors are held fully responsible,” said Corey.  “I would like to see some proper training and some individuals who were there who did not follow procedures properly, be that with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office or the necropsy or any of that, I would like to see some changes being made in that being made available to the residents of Lewis County. They deserve that much that to know that if a loved one is in a similar situation, that this same track record of dragging your family through hell for nine months is not going to happen.”

While Gov. Inslee’s office says they haven’t been able to review the case yet, Meyer confirmed to KOIN 6 News on Tuesday that he declined to refer the case to the Washington State Attorney General’s Office.

“The investigative leads have been exhausted and, at this time, there is nothing further to be done,” Meyer stated. “The family’s own investigator has been unable, to our knowledge, [to] uncover any new information. This Office stands ready to review any new information that may be provided/uncovered.”

In the months since the deaths, Aron’s loved ones and even complete strangers have rallied for justice. It’s a fight Corey says they’ll continue.

“We’re not going away anytime soon, we’re gonna keep pushing, and keep pushing and pushing until it gets referred,” said Corey. “None of this adds up.”

The estate of Aron Christensen has also filed a tort claim related to the death investigation of Christensen and Buzzo for $20 million.