In the community

UPDATED: Suspect in Ontario woman’s murder found dead, DA reports

UPDATE 9:30 p.m. Wednesday: Conner A. Fry, wanted as a suspect in the death of Daniela Perez, was found dead in Ontario Wednesday night.

“Local law enforcement and the Oregon State Police SWAT team began an operation on the believed location of Conner Fry in Ontario, with the goal of arresting him on a judicially approved warrant,” according to a statement from Malheur County District Attorney Dave Goldthorpe. “During the operation, the body of Conner Fry was discovered in the immediate area. He appeared to have died from a self-inflicted shotgun wound.”

Goldthorpe said additional details would be released on Thursday.

UPDATE 3:30 p.m. Wednesday: Malheur County District Attorney Dave Goldthorpe confirmed police are looking for Conner Alexander Fry, 30, of Union County, as a person of interest in the death of a 24-year-old Ontario woman.

UPDATE 11 a.m. Wednesday – District attorney says suspicious circumstances at home triggered concern.

NOTE: As a public service, the Enterprise is making this story available free to all.

ONTARIO – Local police and the FBI are investigating the death of a 24-year-old Ontario woman as possible homicide after she was found dead in her car in downtown Ontario on Tuesday, Oct. 10.

According to a press release from Malheur County District Attorney Dave Goldthorpe, police found the body of Daniela Perez after she was reported missing at about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Police used the subscription-based On-Star communications system to find her vehicle around 7 p.m., Goldthorpe said.

Perez’s car was found in an Ontario School District parking lot south of Southwest 3rd Avenue. The discovery of Perez triggered a county-wide search for Conner Alexander Fry, 30, of La Grande.

A still shot of a “priority person of interest” in the death of an Ontario woman. (Malheur County District Attorney)

The district attorney’s office and local law enforcement ask the media and the public in their assistance in identifying and locating Fry.

The FBI’s Portland office early Wednesday posted photos on its social media account on X, formerly Twitter. The post said Fry was considered “armed and dangerous” and seen at Love’s Truck Stop and Natural Food Market on Tuesday.

Goldthorpe said Wednesday, Oct. 11, that “suspicious circumstances” at the woman’s house, and the inability of the family to contact her, triggered a missing person’s report.

Goldthorpe said if a resident encounters Fry they should be careful and call police.

“Our belief is he is dangerous,” said Goldthorpe.

Goldthorpe said Fry has been in the local area for “a few weeks.”

Fry has had disputes with police in Union County off and on for years. 

Fry was convicted in 2015 for having sex with an underage girl. In 2016, according to court documents, Fry was convicted of breaking in the door of the mother of his children’s home in front of his young children.

In 2020, Fry pleaded guilty to theft, burglary and credit card fraud. Then, in 2021, court records show, a judge found him guilty of giving false information to a police officer. Later that same year, Fry was sentenced to 10 months in a Union County jail and two years of probation for resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer when a Pendleton patrol officer attempted to arrest him on a warrant from the Union County Parole Board.

“Fry continued to resist arrest and at one point punched the officer in the face with a closed fist,” Police Chief Chuck Byram wrote in a news release reported by Elkhorn Media Group at the time. “The officer sustained a minor injury to his left cheek/eye area that did not require medical treatment.”

Meanwhile, the community is mourning the loss of Daniela Perez on social media.

Perez graduated from Ontario High School in 2018, according to Taryn Smith, Ontario School District public relations manager. In 2020, she earned an associate of arts degree from Treasure Valley Community College, said Abby Lee, the college’s vice president of communications.

For the last year and a half, she worked at Ogawa’s Sushi, Burgers, and Bowls restaurant in Fruitland.

Ogawa’s management and staff described Perez as “a compassionate young woman full of love and a zest for life” and someone who was always there “with a helping hand and a kind word,” in a Facebook post.

“We will miss that beautiful smile that lit up the room whenever she greeted you,” the post said. “There are absolutely no words that can express how deeply she will be missed.”  

NOTE: As a public service, the Enterprise is making this story available free to call.

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE – The Malheur Enterprise delivers quality local journalism – fair and accurate. You can read it any hour, any day with a digital subscription. Read it on your phone, your Tablet, your home computer. Click subscribe – $7.50 a month.