DUNDEE, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon man shot and killed his estranged wife and their two children at his home on the Fourth of July before killing himself, police said Thursday. Court records show the woman had sought to keep her husband away from the kids because she considered him dangerous.
The bodies of Randall and Amy Engels and the two children were found Wednesday at the home in Dundee, about 25 miles south of Portland in the heart of Oregon’s wine country.
Amy Engels had filed for divorce from Randall Engels on May 29, and she moved with their children from their home in Dundee to nearby Newberg nearly five weeks earlier, court records show. They had been married 14 years.
Police have not given a motive for the shooting or said why Amy Engels and the children were back at the house on July Fourth.
When Amy Engels filed for divorce, she asked a Yamhill County judge to issue an emergency temporary custody and parenting order, citing an “immediate danger” to her children.
“My husband has threatened to steal them and not return them,” she said in an affidavit. “He has threatened to hurt them. He yells at them and makes them feel nervous and upset.”
A handwritten decision read, “Denied — danger not established.” It was signed by Circuit Judge Cal Tichenor.
In the divorce filing, Amy Engels wrote that she and her husband had decided he will have parenting time at least once per week — prearranged with at least two hours’ notice. But it’s unknown what type of arrangement the pair worked out before the killings.
The files don’t contain the name of a lawyer or show that Randall Engels had participated in the divorce filing.
The court records identify the children as a daughter, Bailey, about 13, and a son, Jackson, about 11. The papers say they had lived with their parents in Dundee from birth until late April, when Amy Engels and the children moved to Newberg.
State records show Amy Engels is a licensed cosmetologist. It was unclear what Randall Engels did for a living, but he previously served on the Dundee Budget Committee and ran unsuccessfully for city council. The Newberg Graphic newspaper reported he was a former owner of the Dundee Pizza Co., which is no longer in business.
The bodies were found at the Dundee home in a working-class neighborhood after a caller told police about an alarming post on a social network.
A post Wednesday on the Facebook page for a person identifying himself as Randall Engels of Dundee reads: “If she’s gone I can’t go on.”
A March 1 post on the same Facebook page reads: “Well Amy, tomorrow will mark 16 years together and our 14th wedding anniversary. I love you more now than ever. You are the only life decision that I never second guess. How did it go by so quickly? I’m easily in for another 16. Thank you for all you do for me.”
It could not be immediately confirmed that the writer of the posts was the man police say killed his wife and children. The Facebook page shows that Randall Engels is originally from Puyallup, Wash.
The family had lived for several years in Dundee, a Willamette Valley town known for weekend and holiday traffic bound for the vineyards and tasting rooms of the region.
Neighbors who would speak to journalists knew little about the family.
Outside the Engels home Thursday sat two vehicles — the husband’s pickup and the wife’s SUV, according to the divorce filing.
Neighbor Kelley Wood said there was little chance that gunfire would have been noticed Wednesday, given the presence of a nearby gun club, the percussive devices used in the vineyards to scare off deer, and the holiday fireworks. On Thursday morning, the remains of fireworks littered an intersection near the family’s home.
“There were a lot of noises that could have sounded like gunshots,” Wood said.
Joe Endicott, an 18-year resident, didn’t know how many years the Engelses had lived there, but he said their tenure was longer than most residents there. Court record states show the children had lived in the house from birth until April 23.
“It’s sad, very sad, something that shouldn’t have happened,” Endicott said. “If you got a problem, you don’t take it out on your family. That’s stupid.”
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