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Police ask for public's help in Metzger homicide investigation

Deputies say accused killer tried to cover body with hay.

TIMES PHOTO: GEOFF PURSINGER - Sgt. Bob Ray with the Washington County Sheriffs Office speaks with reporters on Feb. 10 after a Portland man was killed outside his familys home in Metzger.Investigators are still piecing together what happened at a Metzger home last week when a Portland man was beaten to death with a shovel.

According to Washington County Sheriff’s deputies, Michael Troxell, 27, was working at a home in the 7500 block of Southwest Cedarcrest Street in Metzger when he allegedly bludgeoned a 68-year-old man to death, then covered him with straw to hide the body.

Abdul Jamil Kamawal of Southwest Portland was found outside his family’s Metzger home at about 3 p.m. on Feb. 10.

Many questions remain as to what led to Kamawal’s death.

Court records documenting what authorities say happened that afternoon have been sealed, but the state Medical Examiner’s Office ruled last week that Kamawal died of blunt force trauma to the head.

KamawalSgt. Bob Ray, a spokesman with the Sheriff’s Office, said that the medical examiner was not able to determine the likely murder weapon, but investigators believe that Troxell used a shovel to beat Kamawal in the head, then moved the body into a deep depression in the ground and covered him with hay from the construction site in an attempt to conceal him.

No motive for the killing has been released, and Ray said that it’s still early in the investigation.

“We’re still working through that,” he told The Times on Tuesday. “We’re trying to figure out why this person would do that. We have a few investigative leads we are following up on.”

Anyone with additional information is asked to call investigators at 503-629-0111, Ray said.

“We are asking that anyone with information give us a call,” he said. “Even if you think that it is a small, insignificant thing, it could be critical to the investigation. We’re asking for any and all tips that people might have about this case.”

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Ray said that Troxell lives in California and had been staying with family in the Portland area.

He wasn’t well known by Kamawal’s family, but had been hired to do some maintenance work on a home that is under construction on the Metzger property.

Kamawal was active in the local Muslim community and founded a nonprofit group aimed at helping families in need in rural Afghanistan.

“He had clearly done a lot of good for a lot of people,” Ray said.

Ray said that Troxell was an acquaintance of Kamawal's, and had been hired by Kamawal’s family to do maintenance work on a home the family was building on the property.

TroxellKamawal is a native Afghani who moved to the US in 1985 and gained citizenship, but Ray said that authorities are not considering this to be a hate crime.

“There is no indication that leads us to believe this was racially motivated,” Ray said.

Troxell is lodged in the Washington County Jail. He is being held without the possibility of bail. Detectives with the Washington County Major Crimes Team are assisting with the investigation.

Troxell is charged with a single count of murder, but an official with the Washington County Circuit Court said that additional charges are likely to be filed this week.

This isn’t the first time that Washington County authorities have been called to the Kamawal's home on Cedarcrest Street.

In 2010, a Hillsboro contractor was arrested after he tried to burn down another home on the property.

The contractor, William Bunch, was in arbitration with Kamawal's family after complaints were made that work wasn’t done properly.

Bunch sneaked onto the property late at night in an attempt to set a fire in the still-under-construction home, but was spotted by family members.

Bunch was sentenced to a year in prison for the crime in 2012.

By Geoff Pursinger
Assistant Editor
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