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Dundee disappearance continues to baffle

Aug 4, 2014


By Paul Daquilante
Of the News-Register


Undersheriff Bruce Distler, a former Yamhill County sheriff's deputy, said Monday morning, "She allegedly was seen on a ferry that arrived from Anacortes. We did a passive search. We had no solid information about where she might be going.

"Our deputies went up to some of the resort areas, remote areas  and campgrounds looking for the license plate on the vehicle. We came up with nothing."

The Oregonian also sounded this cautionary note, based on observations made by Distler: "But, he said, no one else, including tourists, locals, ferry workers or deputy sheriffs posted on several islands in the San Juans chain, has corroborated seeing a woman resembling Huston or the dark SUV with a broken windshield that the couple reported. And that lack of confirmation has come during a time when the ferry sighting was highly publicized to ferry workers, sheriff's deputies and the public on the islands."     

Dislter said the tip came from a couple that didn't get the license plate number of the car. "We made a request to the Washington State Ferries Security Division, and they will review the video surveillance from that boat to determine if there is something of interest," he said.

Attention first turned to the San Juan Islands because Huston grew up in the Puget Sound area and regarded the San Juans as a favorite getaway.

The drive from Yamhill County to Anacortes, the ferry departure points, takes 5 1/2 to six hours, Distler said. He said it would have been in range for her on a tank of gas she purchased seven days earlier in Newberg, immediately before her disappearance.

Capt. Tim Svenson of the Yamhill County Sheriff's Office said the agency has discontinued formal search efforts for Huston locally, barring the surfacing of new information. But he said deputies on routine patrol will continue to look for signs of Huston and her car, a dark green Lexus SUV with a big U-shaped crack in the passenger windshield.

A 38-year-old mother of two, Huston was reported missing by her husband, Kallen, about 5:30 a.m. Friday, July 25. He filed the report about about 12 hours after she left their Dundee home, saying she had some errands to run.

Authorities said he had been fully cooperative, and had passed a polygraph test.

Video surveillance captured her at three Newberg locations — a bank ATM where she drew out "less than $100," a Circle K where she gassed up and a Rite Aid where she purchased Gatorade, trail mix and a mild, over-the-counter sleeping aid. She made the stops in relatively quick succession and appeared to be alone.

Authorities said her phone was then turned off. They said there had been no record of bank, phone or credit card activity since.

They described her as a 5-foot-7 woman of average build, with blond shoulder-length hair and blue eyes. They said she was wearing black-and-pink shoes and black yoga pants when she left home.

She had been experiencing headaches for about three days prior to her disappearance, but had not begun taking any medication or scheduled any doctor's appointments in response.

Any tips or leads should be referred to lead Detective Ryan Simmons at 503-554-8954 or ryan.simmons@newbergoregon.gov.

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