Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

DNA test identifies Yashanees body found at Rocky Butte

UPDATE • Police say girl died from gunshot to the head; family plans July 30 funeral service
by: Christopher Onstott A memorial to 14-year-old Yashanee Vaughn continues to grow at a rock wall near the entrance to Rocky Butte in Northeast Portland. Police say it could take several more days before they know if the body found Friday in the state park could belong to the girl who has been missing for four months.

Oregon's medical examiner said Tuesday that the body found Friday at Rocky Butte State Park was 14-year-old Yashanee Vaughn, who disappeared in mid-March. She died from a gunshot to the head, the examiner reported.

The body was identified using a DNA test, Portland police said.

Identification of Yashanee's body came hours before the girl's family hosted a vigil Tuesday evening to mark the fourth month of her disappearance.

The family also plans a funeral service for Yashanee at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 30, at the City Bible Church's Rocky Butte campus, 9200 N.E. Fremont St.

Reynelda Hayes, Yashanee's grandmother, said Tuesday the family was dealing with the news of the positive identification and she hoped the vigil would 'bring together the community for prayer and peace for all of our children.'

'Although the news was expected, it didn't make it any easier to hear the words from investigators of confirmation,' Hayes said.

According to family spokeswoman Michelle Bart, Tuesday's vigil at Northeast 92nd Avenue and Russell Street, near the entrance to Rocky Butte, was held in part to remind the public that police suspect some people with knowledge of her disappearance and death have not yet been identified.

'Investigators are still looking for others that may have further information regarding the events that transpired on March 19,' Bart said.

Suspect revealed body's location

Vaughn, 14, was last seen on March 19 in the company of her boyfriend, Parrish Bennette Jr., 16. He has been charged with murdering Vaughn that day.

According to Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schrunk, Bennette told investigators where he hid her body on Rocky Butte last week. Human remains were found at the location on Friday.

On Monday, the police said it could take 'a few days' before the state medical examiner will officially identify the body.

Bart says Vaughn's family accepts that the remains are those of Yashanee. They have scheduled the vigil for the location where Mayor Sam Adams and Assistant Portland Police Chief Larry O'Day announced that the remains have been found on Friday. It is along a stone wall at the intersection of Northwest 92nd and Rocky Butte Road.

At Friday's press conference, Adams said investigators remain committed to bringing all those involved in Vaughn's disappearance to justice.

Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information in the case. Confidential tips can be left at 503-823-HELP.