Police: Two bodies found near pickup tied to missing 15-year-old girl's case

Death investigation in Washington Park near Pittock Mansion - KATU photo from reporter Keaton Thomas

Two bodies were found Wednesday morning in Washington Park, and Portland Police said they could be connected to the case of a missing 15-year-old Aloha girl.

A Mountain Wave Search & Rescue K-9 found the bodies about 80 feet off the trail near where the Wildwood Trail meets the Upper MacLeay Trail.

The state medical examiner hasn't confirmed the identities of the deceased or how they died, however police detectives say they are likely connected to a pickup truck in the case of a missing 15-year-old girl.

“We are not able at this time to verify the identities of these deceased persons as Zachary Petersen or Annieka Vaughan,” Portland Police spokesperson Chris Burley said.

Burley said detectives don't suspect foul play, and there is no threat to the public.

Annieka Vaughan, 15, ran away from her home in Aloha on October 30. Vaughan is thought to be with 23-year-old Petersen, who is accused of sexually abusing her in Benton County, Washington.

On Monday, authorities found Petersen’s pickup parked along NW Cornell Road - near where the bodies were found along the Wildwood Trail.

Later that evening, Portland Police was called out after someone heard voices in the woods along the Hemlock Trail. A K-9 team searched on the ground while the bureau’s Air Support Unit flew overhead with a thermal imaging technology, however they couldn’t find anyone.

“Obviously, that's a heavily forested and pretty difficult area to search,” said Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Talbot. “I can tell you during their initial search they did not locate anything suspicious or anyone involved.”

Search and rescue teams went back out along the trails on Tuesday, however a human remains K-9 found the bodies shortly after starting to search on Wednesday morning.

Annieka’s dad spoke publicly about the family’s search Tuesday, pleading for the safe return of his daughter.

“I love you baby, where are you? Come home,” he said. “If somebody's holding her up please let her go. Let her come back here. Let her come back to family, and be with people who care about her and give her an opportunity to get the support she needs.”

If you have any information on the missing girl's case, call police.

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