Eagle Point murder-suicide investigated

EAGLE POINT — Police say a Eureka, Calif., man apparently shot and killed his ex-girlfriend before turning the gun on himself Sunday night at a rural home north of Eagle Point.

The dead couple have been identified as Liesa Werner, 53, who died of a single gunshot wound, and Eugene Koch, 56, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Jackson County Sheriff's Department officials said.

According to sheriff's department reports, Koch drove from Eureka and showed up unexpectedly at 5 p.m. at Werner's home in the 2300 block of Butte Falls Highway, about two miles east Highway 62. He never came back out.

Police said there was no evidence that any altercation occurred before the shooting.

A call about the shootings came in at 6:11 p.m., sheriff's records show. Nearby property owners made the call after hearing gunshots, sheriff's office officials said.

Identification in Koch's wallet indicated he was a firefighter-paramedic, though for which agency was not immediately known. Humboldt Bay Fire Chief Ken Woods said Monday that Koch has never been an employee of either the Eureka Fire Department or the Humboldt No. 1 Fire Protection District.

Police said family members told them the two had broken off a long-term relationship recently, which left Koch distraught and suicidal.

"The exact length of time since the break-up to (Sunday) we're unsure of, but yes, there had been a break-up," sheriff's office spokeswoman Andrea Carlson said.

Responding officers left the scene at just before 11 p.m. Sunday after collecting evidence and removing the two bodies from the house. Police were not releasing information about where Werner was shot or where her body was found.

The case is still under investigation, but the sheriff's office was referring to the case as a murder-suicide. Sheriff Mike Winters could not be reached for comment on the deaths.

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

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