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Family grasps for answers after murder

No suspects yet for shooting death of Tiffany Jenks at Blue Lake Park


by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - A September photo of Tiffany Jenks in Pendleton.The last update Tiffany Jenks made to her Facebook page was on Sept. 29, a week before police discovered her body near the entrance of Blue Lake Regional Park in Fairview.

The 35-year-old woman had changed her cover photo to an image of her sitting on a sunny beach, smiling as she looked over the ocean, sunlight reflecting off her sunglasses and blond hair.

At approximately 7:20 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, a driver saw Jenks’ body lying facedown in a grassy area near the park’s entrance, said Sgt. Bernie Meyer of the Fairview Police Department.

Police have ruled out suicide and are investigating her death as a homicide. No suspects are in custody.

Dr. Larry Lewman, medical examiner, has confirmed Jenks died of a gunshot wound.

Lewman could not provide more details as the case is still under investigation by the East County Major Crimes Team.

When police found her, Jenks was fully clothed.

Meyer said she had likely been there for at least a couple hours before being found. There was no immediate sign of robbery, he said.

What we know about Tiffany Jenks

The victim’s older sister, Jennifer Jenks, who lives in Hines, a small town in rural Harney County in Southeast Oregon, told Portland-based news outlets that she became worried when she couldn’t reach her sister a few days ago.

The longtime Portland resident lived in downtown and did not own a car, she said, so she has no idea how she ended up at Blue Lake Park in Fairview.

Tiffany Fern Marie Jenks was from a large, close-knit family with one sister and four brothers.

She graduated from Portland State University with a science degree, and worked at the Bonneville Power Administration as a hydrologist, but left her job after her father died of cancer in 2010.

Jennifer Jenks described her sister as an outgoing, caring person with lots of friends.

Her sister told a television reporter her sister struggled with her father’s death. After she quit her job, she battled addiction to drugs and alcohol, the report said.

Jennifer Jenks said the only danger to her sister she was aware of was an ex-boyfriend who had been violent with Jenks in the past, but she did not believe they had been in contact recently.

“Last time I talked to her, she sounded really good,” Jennifer Jenks told the television reporter. “She sounded really happy and she sounded positive about her future.”

According to other media reports, Jenks had tried to end a troubled romantic relationship this summer.

Jenks was an “accomplished” runner who ran in the Hood to Coast Relay and in breast cancer awareness charity runs, her sister said. She liked living in the city, meeting new people and learning new things.

In her Facebook photos, Jenks, an attractive blonde with blue eyes, is pictured smiling and having a good time with friends at the beach, hiking, paddleboarding at a lake and posing with a group of runners in front of a church.

Murder a rare case for Fairview

The apparent homicide of Tiffany Jenks is a rare occurrence for Fairview, a town of 8,920 people.

A year ago, police investigated the murder-by-abuse of 10-year-old Miranda Crocket, who was tied up and drowned at her home in the King’s Garden Apartments. Her father’s live-in-girlfriend, Chanda Rose, is serving a 20 year sentence for the killing.

Beyond that, the last time police investigated a homicide was in 2004, at the same apartment complex where Crocket was killed.

A gang member shot and killed a man at the King’s Garden Apartments thinking the man was a rival gang member. But it was a case of mistaken identity.