Oregon Man Is Charged With Two Murders Committed Two Decades Apart
An Oregon man was charged with two cold case murders, committed more than two decades apart, authorities said this week, noting that there may be more casualties.
Portland investigators said they still had not found the remains of the first victim, Mark Dribin, who disappeared in 1999. However, they discovered the dismembered body of Kenneth Griffin, who disappeared in 2020, in a shed at Christopher Lovrien’s house in southeast Portland when they went there to investigate the first case.
Lovrien, 53, has been charged with two second degree murder cases, one for molesting a first degree corpse and six for a criminal in possession of a firearm.
He pleaded not guilty in Multnomah County Circuit Court on Thursday.
“Time will never stand in the way of justice,” Multnomah County’s district attorney Mike Schmidt said in a statement Wednesday announcing the charges against Mr. Lovrien.
Investigators have asked the public for help in identifying someone who may have lived under an Interstate 205 bridge and who disappeared from summer 2019 to May 2020. They declined to say why the underpass had become a focus of their ongoing investigation.
Mr Lovrien’s attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday night.
Portland Police Bureau cold case detectives said they focused on Mr. Lovrien after sending a DNA sample recovered from Mr. Dribin’s house and vehicle in 1999 to Bode Technology, a Virginia-based private company specializing in genetic engineering Specialized in genealogy testing The sample had previously found no match with a possible suspect in the murder of 42-year-old Dribin and an airline cargo worker. (In 2000, authorities pronounced Dribin dead.)
The analysis, which checked DNA evidence against ancestral records, pointed to Mr Lovrien and several brothers who said they narrowed the list of suspects from there, according to authorities.
“You’re kind of pointing us in the direction,” Hey, you might want to look at this person or family, “Portland Police Bureau Detective Brendan McGuire told a press conference Thursday.” We still have to target these leads and then build our own evidence. “
Recognition…Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office
The detectives said they had received a search warrant to collect a DNA sample from Mr Lovrien that matched the genetic evidence in Mr Dribin’s death.
Last May, Mr. Lovrien was arrested for the murder of the case. A little over two weeks later, investigators said they found the dismembered remains of Mr. Griffin in a shed at Mr. Lovrien’s. Mr. Griffin had been missing since February last year.
An age for Mr Griffin, whom officials said the local news media had no long-term stable housing, was not immediately available.
Investigators said they found no evidence that Mr. Lovrien, a metalworker, and the two murder victims knew each other. A motive for the murders is unknown.
A search of Mr. Lovrien’s house last year, police said, revealed two 9-millimeter pistols, a 0.40-caliber pistol, a .357-caliber revolver and two 0.223-caliber rifles .
The case against Mr. Lovrien is one of the latest breakthroughs in the science of genetic genealogy.
Genetic genealogy has been instrumental in identifying more than 40 suspects in cold cases, particularly the so-called Golden State Killer in California.
“Something like the emergence was a couple of years ago with the Golden State Killer in California when that investigation broke,” said Detective McGuire. “Now there are agencies and companies across the country that do this pretty often.”