Lynn Lee Donaldson

Lynn Lee Donaldson moved to Coos Bay about 1981. Little did she know, her days were numbered. She was 17 years old and life lay ahead.

A Coos Bay couple, on their way into Sunday services at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church, North Fourth Street and Highland Avenue, pulled their car into the back parking lot., about 10:00. They saw the fully clothed body lying on an ivy shrouded hillside adjacent to the church.

Shortly after 10:00, January 24, 1982, police were at the location, and roped the crime scene off, preventing entry by bystanders. After a brief examination of the area, the woman’s body was covered with a bright yellow plastic sheet until Oregon State Police crime lab specialists could arrive.

A dog and handler from the Coos Bay K-9 squad was called in early Sunday afternoon to aid police in their investigation. Under a gray sky and steady drizzle, the dog was taken around the vicinity to sniff out any possible evidence.

Steven Strauss, an investigator with OSP, who had been out of town, arrived at the location by 6:30 pm.

Working under spotlights supplied by the Coos Bay Fire Department, Strauss checked the area before the body was removed about 8:00 pm and taken to the Coos Bay Hospital. Police guarded the site overnight and conducted a thorough ground search of the area on Monday.

Monday, the police used metal detectors to comb the area where Lynn was found.

The autopsy showed Lynn had died from “a wound to the neck area”.

Authorities interviewed about 25 people in connection with the murder. The World Newspaper reported the police were asking anyone that happened to be in the area of North Fourth Street and Highland Avenue, between 7:00 pm Saturday and 9:00 am Sunday to call the department at 269-8911.

The leads soon vanished. This case is still unsolved. Lynn Lee Donaldson’s killer still walks free. If you were in this area of Coos Bay 12 years ago, and remember something you had forgotten, please call the Coos Bay Oregon Police Dept. at 541-269-8911.

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(Information and photos from The World Newspaper, Coos Bay OR, Elise Hamner )