The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office has referred Aron Christensen’s case back to the prosecutor’s office, The Chronicle confirmed Tuesday.
The Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office is in the process of reviewing the investigation material submitted by the sheriff’s office and will decide whether to file criminal charges related to Christensen’s death in the coming weeks.
A hiker found Christensen, 49, of Portland, dead next to his 4-month-old puppy Buzzo on the 101 trail 3 to 4 miles away from Walupt Lake just after 3:55 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022.
Two months later, on Oct. 26, the Lewis County Coroner’s Office ruled Christensen’s death a homicide caused by a gunshot wound to the chest. The next day, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office referred first-degree manslaughter and animal cruelty charges against two suspects: Ethan Michael Asbach, 20, of Tenino, and a 17-year-old girl from Rochester. The prosecutor’s office referred the case back to the sheriff’s office on Nov. 2 for further investigation.
Detectives with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office received the last report they were waiting on — cellphone mapping for the two suspects — on Friday, Jan. 20, according to Field Operations Chief Dusty Breen.
The sheriff’s office contacted Christensen’s family last week to inform them detectives had sent the case back to the prosecutor’s office. Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer confirmed Tuesday that his office has received the case from the sheriff’s office and it is being reviewed.
Charges related to the case had not been filed as of Tuesday afternoon.
Family members and friends of Christensen have told The Chronicle they are frustrated with a lack of information from authorities and the failure to arrest a suspect in the case following Christensen’s death.
Friday, Jan. 20, would have been Christensen’s 50th birthday. To mark the occasion, two bands that Christensen was a member of, Supplemental Pills and Hearts of Oak, created and released the song "Between the Harvest and the Hunter's Moon."
All proceeds from the song, which is available on all streaming services, go toward a fundraiser benefiting Christensen’s family.
The GoFundMe had raised just over $30,000 as of Tuesday afternoon for legal fees and subsequent investigative work that Christensen’s family is pursuing.