DA says reservoir drowning might be homicide

Authorities said one of the deaths in the Topsy Reservoir east of Ashland this week is being investigated as a possible homicide.

The bodies of Christopher Cudo, 19, and Brian Copeland, 18, both of Klamath Falls, were pulled from the reservoir Tuesday night. The two went into the water off a 20-foot ledge during a fight involving six young men.

Cameron West, 18, of Klamath Falls was stabbed in the chest during the fight, and remained at Sky Lakes Medical Center Wednesday with injuries not considered life threatening.

Klamath County authorities initially said Cudo stabbed West and was then pushed into the water by Copeland. Then, investigators said, Copeland dived into the water to save Cudo and drowned as well.

But after further investigation, investigators think someone else may have pushed Cudo into the water, said Sheriff Tim Evinger of Klamath County.

Copeland was trying to rescue Cudo when he apparently got pulled beneath the water. He was retrieved from the reservoir by a fisherman and a witness who tried to perform CPR.

Members of a dive team found Cudo’s body after a two-hour search.

Alcohol was believed to be a factor in the fight, but authorities say the drowning victims were not drinking.

“We’re looking at it as a potential homicide just because the facts aren’t clear yet,” District Attorney Ed Caleb said.

Authorities on Wednesday were seeking people of interest in the case, but declined to release names of others involved.

Caleb did identify one of the people of interest as Brandon West, a Keno man who was convicted of criminally negligent homicide in the accidental shooting of his friend, Christopher Eccles, last fall.

West, the stabbing victim’s brother, pleaded guilty last month and his sentencing is set for Aug. 3.

— The Associated Press

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