Medford police remove a small dog from a house on Covina Avenue where two bodies were discovered Tuesday morning. [Mail Tribune / Mark Freeman]

Murder-suicide suspected

Investigators believe a 51-year-old man, who neighbors said had a history of erratic behavior, shot and killed his former girlfriend and then turned the gun on himself in the east Medford home the couple still shared despite ending their relationship early last year.

Officers responding to a welfare check at 10:05 a.m. Tuesday discovered the bodies of Charmaine Crunk, 50, and Eric Hilsenberg, 51, in a house at 1206 Covina Ave., Medford police said.

Both victims appeared to have died from gunshot wounds, and investigators believe Hilsenberg killed Crunk before shooting himself, police said. A pending autopsy will lead to the official cause and manner of death, police said.

Police said the pair's 12-year relationship ended in March, yet both still lived with several pets at the small, single-floor house just west of Crater Lake Avenue.

Next-door neighbors Rebecca Golden and roommate Mike White said the couple had lived there for several years, had guns in the house and that Hilsenberg often spoke suspiciously of Crunk.

Golden and White said that Hilsenberg often claimed to them that Crunk was trying to kill him. They said Hilsenberg also brought over emails and other paperwork to their house in attempts to prove Crunk's supposed infidelities and threats.

"He really had a habit of fabricating a lot of things," White said. "You never knew what was true."

Hilsenberg told them he was dying of an unspecified illness and took many medications, they said.

"We knew we didn't want our kids around him," said Golden, who lives next-door with her husband, four children and White. "They were both a bit off, mentally off."

White said he went so far last year as to conduct a background check on Hilsenberg.

"Honestly, I wish I could say I was surprised, but I'm not," White said.

Neither Hilsenberg nor Crunk has a criminal history in Oregon, court records show.

While Golden said she last saw Hilsenberg outside the house Monday, police on Tuesday made no mention of when they think the apparent murder-suicide occurred.

Police were alerted when Crunk failed to arrive at her work as a tax preparer Tuesday morning at Walsh Tax Services in Ashland. When officers arrived at the home, they peered through a window and discovered one victim unresponsive.

Officers forced their way into the residence before discovering both victims, police said.

— Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or Follow him on Twitter at





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