Two dead in Bull Mountain home in suspected suicide pact
A man and a woman died Wednesday night in an apparent murder-suicide in a home on Bull Mountain, the Washington County Sheriff's Office said.
Deputies were called to a residence in the 13600 block of Willow Top Lane in the Bull Mountain area around 10:38 p.m. Wednesday. Family members were concerned that they had not heard from the home's residents, Leonard J. Foster, 48, and Lisa R. Malone, 48, for some time, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Deputies determined they did not have legal justification to enter the home, although family members reported hearing gunshots while on the phone with 911. However, just after 1 a.m. Thursday, the family members entered and discovered both Foster and Malone dead.
Washington County Detective Robert Rookhuyzen said investigators believe Foster shot Malone and then himself.
"We do believe that it was what they mutually agreed on," he said.
Both Foster and Malone were reportedly employed at Fahey Machinery Co. Inc. in Tualatin. Jennifer Massey, a spokeswoman for the Tualatin Police Department, said Foster worked as the service manager there, while Malone was the bookkeeper.
Massey said the owner of Fahey Machinery's Tualatin facility contacted police Tuesday and reported that Foster and Malone were believed to have embezzled about $34,500 from the company since Dec. 26, using cash advances on Foster's company credit card and fraudulent checks made out to Foster by Malone, and that the employees had not reported to work that week or responded to attempts to contact them.
Foster had apparently emailed his supervisor Monday claiming there was a "family emergency" that would cause the couple to miss work, but that excuse was viewed with suspicion, especially after items were found missing from Malone's office, according to Massey. A company truck used by Foster was also gone, Massey said, and under the circumstances, the owner of Fahey Machinery reported it as stolen.
"We recovered that truck early this morning at about 2:45 a.m.," Massey said. "It was found parked in a Safeway parking lot on Lower Boones Ferry Road with the keys under the driver's seat. … It's like they had just taken it there and parked it there."
Rookhuyzen said the murder-suicide may have been spurred by the couple's fears they had been caught stealing from their employer.
"I think that the world (had) kind of come crashing down on them," Rookhuyzen said.
A telephone message left at Fahey Machinery went unreturned Thursday morning.
According to the Sheriff's Office, the family members went inside the three-story home earlier Wednesday evening and, from the ground floor, they spoke with Foster and Malone, who were upstairs. The Sheriff's Office said the family members then heard what they believed to be a single gunshot, but thought it could have been from a TV; after that noise, Foster and Malone both told the family members they were fine and did not wish to speak with them.
The family members called 911. While on the phone, the family members reported hearing additional gunshots, which they described as quiet or muffled. The 911 call-taker did not report hearing any gunshots.
Deputies responded to the home after the emergency call. They contacted neighbors, who reported they had not heard any gunshots. The neighbors reported that the porch light was turned off after the time the family members heard the shots and exited the home. Deputies also observed interior lights being turned off while they were on the scene. Phone calls to the home were not answered. Deputies ultimately determined they did not have legal justification to enter the home.
Just after 1 a.m. Thursday, the family members re-entered the home and discovered both Foster and Malone dead.
Detectives from the sheriff's Violent Crimes Unit responded to the scene. They were assisted at the scene by the Washington County Medical Examiner's Office.
No charges are anticipated, Rookhuyzen said, but the investigation is ongoing.
Malone and Foster were a couple and lived at the home together for more than a year. There is no documented history of domestic violence for the couple at this address.
Foster has a criminal background, pleading guilty to drug possession and an attempt to commit a felony in 1998 and misdemeanor theft in 2000, according to court records.
Anyone with additional information about Foster or Malone or the shooting is asked to contact detectives at 503-846-2500.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with comments from a Washington County detective and Tualatin police spokeswoman, as well as information on the suspected killer's criminal history.