Update 5 p.m.: In a news release by the Newberg-Dundee Police Department late Wednesday, authorities said Jennifer Huston died by suicide. They say Huston died of asphyxiation. Police also found an empty box of sleeping pills at the scene.
Local police didn’t hold a press conference, but the department shared the details of the investigation as well as a statement from her family:
As you know, members of the Newberg-Dundee Police Department have been working to find Jennifer Janelle Huston of Dundee, after she was reported missing on Friday, July 25, 2014. Today it was confirmed by the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office that the female found in rural Sheridan, Oregon was that of Jennifer Huston. The listed cause of death is asphyxiation. The manner of death is listed as suicide. The results of toxicology are not available at this time.
NDPD Detectives have not been able to establish any connection to the property owners where the vehicle was discovered, and Jennifer Huston. There was no evidence of a crash or damage to her vehicle and the fuel gauge was registering as full. Jennifer’s body was found outside and approximately 40 yards from her vehicle.
NDPD Detectives and crime scene technicians from the Oregon State Police located the empty box of the sleeping aids that were purchased at the Rite Aid pharmacy, and a gas receipt from the Circle Kay gas station in Newberg. Inside the vehicle, Detectives found a note addressed to members of Jennifer’s family. Jennifer’s purse and personal effects to include her cell phone, were also located in the vehicle. The cell phone was analyzed by our computer forensic detectives. There were no indications of nefarious actives.
Based on the totality of the evidence, detectives and the medical examiner have concluded that Jennifer had been deceased fairly close to the time she was reported missing.
The Hillside Church has offered to accept any notes, cards, and flowers on behalf of the Huston family. Please contact Pastor Zach Elliott at firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements for gifts or other contributions.
The family has asked me to share their gratitude toward the media with their help and professionalism during this tragic event. However, in light of these findings they have expressed they do not want any media contact. We respectfully ask that media honor their request.
However, the family has also asked us to release the following statement:
Our hearts ache today. We have lost our first born child. We have lost a wife and a mother.
We don’t know what lead Jennifer to this dark place and to this end and perhaps never will understand this.
We are incredibly thankful to family, friends, community and media for their searching, supporting and getting the information out that lead to locating Jennifer’s car and finding Jennifer.
Additionally, we are grateful for the support of those who took the time share their words of encouragement and prayers on Facebook and helped fund the extensive search efforts. This community really came together to support this effort as so many could relate to a mother of two small children and a husband desperately looking for his wife.
We also appreciate all the efforts of the Newberg-Dundee Police Department with support from other law enforcement agencies, on our behalf to find Jennifer.
Lastly, I’d like to thank the media for the viral coverage to get the message out of our search for Jennifer. We appreciated the sensitivity to our desperate search for her. At this time we are respectfully ask for privacy from the media for Kallen, the boys and our extended family and friends.
The family will be holding a Celebration of Life at a yet to be determined date, time and location. We will post this on the ‘Find Jennifer Huston’ Facebook page when arrangements have been finalized.
The City of Newberg will also post this information on their website and Facebook page.
Bill & Deborah Turner
Tuesday 4 p.m.: Newberg-Dundee police officers say they believe they know what happened to missing mother Jennifer Huston, whose body was found earlier Tuesday afternoon near her SUV in a rural area of Sheridan in Yamhill County. Police are now in the process of removing the vehicle from the scene.
“We’re still open-minded,” said Jeff Kosmicki, police spokesman at a press conference. “I think we have a pretty good idea what happened.”
However, officials say no more information will be disclosed until the case is processed by a medical examiner. The spokesman disclosed that Huston was dressed in the same clothes she was wearing when she disappeared.
Police located the body of Huston about 50 yards away from her 1999 dark green Lexus LX-470. A resident in the area saw the vehicle Tuesday morning and called the Yamhill Communications Center and was able to read the license plate in full. Newberg-Dundee Police Department was contacted at 10:30 a.m.
Police are now calling this an active death investigation. Officials say that there is nothing at this point to indicate foul play and the public is not in danger.
As OPB previously reported, Huston, 38, was first reported missing July 25 after she didn’t come home from running errands the evening before.
From surveillance video, police determined that Huston went to Oregon First Community Credit Union in Newberg shortly before 6 p.m. on July 24, withdrawing less than $100. She then went to a nearby Circle K gas station and spent less than $40 on fuel before going to Rite Aid and purchasing Gatorade, trail mix and a non-lethal dose of sleeping pills.
Huston’s cellphone received a text message from her mother at 6:22 p.m., but Huston never replied. Her phone turned off at 6:25 p.m.
Huston’s husband, Kallen Huston, said this was out of character for his wife, who he described as a loving mother to their two sons, ages 2 and 6.
The case drew national interest and people reported sightings in the San Juan Islands, in California and as far away as Michigan.