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Investigators secure a crime scene in the 20000 block of Highway 62 in Shady Cove, where a mother and father of four were found dead from gunshot wounds in an apparent murder-suicide.

Shady Cove couple found dead

SHADY COVE — Four children are orphans after an apparent murder-suicide claimed their parents' lives early Tuesday morning, Jackson County Sheriff's Department officials said.

Deputies and Eagle Point police responded to a report of shots fired at about 2:30 a.m. in the 20000 block of Highway 62. They found Makiala Lynn Upton, 30, dead from a gunshot wound inside the home, officials said.

A SWAT team was summoned to look for the shooter. Police then found the body of Upton's husband, Dewayne Garrett Upton, 36, near the Rogue River with a small-caliber handgun near his body. Sheriff's spokeswoman Andrea Carlson said detectives believe he shot himself before their arrival.

"At this point, the evidence is pointing to a murder-suicide," Carlson said.

The couple's four children, whose ages weren't available Tuesday, were staying with relatives overnight and are safe, Carlson said.

Dewayne's grandparents, Dick and Wilma Traugh of Grants Pass, told reporters he had called and told them he shot his wife and thought she was dead.

Neighbors said the Uptons moved into the Shady Cove house sometime last month.

Neither Makiala nor Dewayne Upton appear to have any criminal history, according to court records. Carlson said deputies had not responded to the residence before for domestic disputes.

News of the two deaths was a shock to employees at Pacific Tool and Gauge in White City, where Dewayne worked as a machine shop foreman.

"He was really liked," said owner Dave Kiff. "He was a very well-mannered person."

Kiff said Dewayne was a U.S. Army veteran who served during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

U.S. Army records indicate he was an E4 specialist from December 1999 to April 2005. He was also listed as an M1 armor crewman who worked aboard tanks.

"It was haunting some of the stories he told," Kiff said.

Neighbor Laura Badgley, who lives down the road from the Uptons, said she regularly saw Makiala Upton walking her children to the bus stop.

"I thought she was really nice," Badgley said. "She seemed like a good mom."

Badgley said her son was having a birthday party and her husband suggested they invite the Upton children. When the family drove by the house at about 5 p.m. Monday, however, the Upton home was dark and quiet so they never relayed the invitation.

Badgley said she never suspected anything was wrong. She said Makiala talked about the future and about needing to move into a larger home.

Neighbors said they hadn't heard any arguments coming from the house.

"The only thing I ever heard was the little kids running around," said David Jones, who has lived in the neighborhood for three years with his wife, Marge. "(The neighborhood's) real quiet."

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at rpfeil@mailtribune.com.

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