The Deschutes County Sheriff's has arrested a Bend homeless man as a suspect in an alleged double murder at a homeless camp north of Bend.
Here's a copy of the press release that just came out this morning.
South Highway 97 and Baker Rd.
By: Sheriff Larry Blanton
Arrested: Jason Michael Centrone, 37 year old transient
Charge: Aggravated Murder
The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office is currently conducting an investigation into the deaths of two victims whose bodies were discovered by Sheriff's Deputies in a wooded area near Highway 97 and Baker Rd. at about 11:00 pm on October 13th. Preliminary investigation has led Detectives to investigate the deaths as homicides. A suspect is in custody, and Detectives believe there is no further danger to the community.
Centrone was initially contacted in front of the Bend Wal-Mart store, at about 8:30 pm, and arrested by Bend Police Officers, without incident, for Criminal Trespass II, and was lodged in the Deschutes County Jail. Information developed by the arresting officer and Sheriff's Deputies led to the discovery of the deceased victims in a transient camp. After the bodies were discovered Centrone was interviewed by Sheriff's Deputies and arrested for Aggravated Murder.
Centrone was lodged in the Deschutes County Jail on 2 counts of Aggravated Murder as well as the original Criminal Trespass charge.
The victims have not yet been positively identified. Detectives will continue to investigate this case throughout the day. No further information is being released at this time. The Deschutes County District Attorney's Office is involved in the investigation and any further information or press releases will be released by the DA's Office.
Expect this news to set of a wave of hand-wringing over the largely unregulated transient camps that have proliferated around Deschutes County over the past few years. While the camps are nothing new, most reports indicate that there are more of them as the unemployment rate has risen into the double digits. As the homeless population has grown, so have the instances of violence and criminal activity in the camps. I can think of a couple of instances off the top of my head, including one recent sodomy case at one of the camps involving a middle age homeless men and a juvenile living in a camp.
With limited social services and housing opportunities for the homeless, there are no easy answers to the homeless camps around town. But when the criminal activity in the camps turns to murder, it's time to start asking the questions.
Addendum: Here's Mr. Centrone's mugshot, which the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office has provided.