Police search for 'dangerous' man after DNA links murder, assault

PENDLETON, Ore. -- Pendleton police are searching for a person of interest after DNA evidence from a recent assault was linked to the murder of a 19-year-old woman last year.

Police say Danny Wu should be considered 'extremely dangerous.' Pendleton police have contacted Wu 27 times since he moved to the area last August.

Oregon State Police Forensic staff matched the DNA evidence last weekend. DNA was collected from the August 9th assault of 53-year-old Karen Lange. She was reported missing when she didn't return from her daily walk. Detectives said they found her unconscious several feet below a walking path. Lange was transferred to a Portland hospital where she is still in critical condition.

Detectives said they obtained surveillance footage that shows Wu stalking Lange with a weapon behind his back. Later, investigators said they recovered a galvanized pipe from the scene. Forensic analysis confirmed that this was the weapon used in the assault.

The forensic team linked the DNA from the weapon used in the assault to DNA recovered at the murder scene of 19-year-old Amyjane Brandhagen. She was found dead in a Pendleton motel last August. She had worked there for just one week as a housekeeper. Police said she was stabbed in the chest multiple times.

Until now, police had said little about the investigation of Brandhagen's murder. There had been no arrests and no announcement of suspects for a year. We didn't even know how Amyjane died.

Police say Wu is a loner who doesn't seem to talk with others. Detectives learned he frequents public libraries. They say he typically arms himself with knives, screwdrivers and other objects that can be used as a weapon.

If you have any information please contact local authorities:

  • Pendleton Police Department (541) 276-4411

  • Umatilla County Dispatch Center (541) 966-3651

  • Sergeant Howard Bowen (541) 969-1133

  • Detective Brandon Gomez (541) 969-7867

Action News reporter Davis Wahlman contributed to this report