BEAVERTON, Oregon – Police have located remains they believe to be of a Beaverton woman at her home a day after her son was arrested on the charge of abuse of a corpse.
Officers responded for a welfare check on Katherine McDowell, 57, Monday afternoon about 3:30. Upon arrival they spoke to McDowell’s unnamed daughter, reported Fox 12 Oregon. She was the person requesting the welfare check. They also spoke with McDowell’s son, Matthew Gutierrez, 24.
During the course of their investigation, police said Gutierrez made the claim that he burned his mother’s body in a backyard fire pit.
The neighbor, Shani Gettle said, “We definitely smelled a fire burning.”
Beaverton police arrested Gutierrez on suspicion of abuse of a corpse, after he made the claim to burning his mother’s body in their backyard.
Investigators searched the property Tuesday with the help of the Forensics Unit from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and Washington County Medical Examiner’s Office.
During the search, detectives found remains that have since been confirmed to be human. Police said the investigation is ongoing but added that they believe the remains to be those of McDowell.
“It’s just, I can’t believe it. I’m still in complete shock,” said Gettle. “You just remember seeing her just weeks ago and you just can’t believe it happened to her, that she’s not here anymore.”
It is unknown what led McDowell’s daughter to request the welfare check. Furthermore, the cause of death was not disclosed, if it is even known. Apparently Guiterrez simply admitted burning his mother’s corpse, but not killing her.
Police confirmed Gutierrez has been arrested twice since January 2016 on allegations of domestic harassment involving his family, including an arrest in March involving his mother.
Gutierrez is currently being held in the Washington County Jail.
(Photo: Washington County Jail)