UPDATE 11 a.m. FRIDAY
– A fundraising page has been established to raise money for funeral expenses for Daniela Perez, who died Tuesday, Oct. 11. The Gofundme page is HERE.
– A benefit car wash to help Perez’s family is scheduled for 1 p.m to 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, in the front parking lot at Ontario High School.
ONTARIO – Police tracked a cell phone being used by a murder suspect to find the man in Ontario on Wednesday but he died by suicide before he could be arrested, according to Malheur County District Attorney Dave Goldthorpe.
Goldthorpe on Thursday, Oct. 12, released more details about the death of Conner A. Fry, 30 of La Grande. Fry was suspected of killing 24-year-old Daniela Perez of Ontario.
According to a press release from Goldthorpe, police “pinged” Fry’s cell phone for hours in a nearly two-day search. Such an action allows authorities to pin down the location of the phone.
At about 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11, a SWAT team moved into position in an Ontario neighborhood where the suspect was thought to be. Police then spotted Fry leave a shed and then take cover in “dense vegetation nearby,” Goldthorpe said.
As police continued to move to arrest Fry, they heard a muffled gunshot.
At that point, according to Goldthorpe, the “team confirmed over the radio that no member of law enforcement fired any type of weapon.”
Police then fired tear gas where Fry was seen. When Fry did not respond, “several less-lethal rounds (not deadly bullets) were fired in an attempt to make Conner Fry come out of the vegetation.”
“When he did not move SWAT approached with caution. Once near Conner Fry, zip tie restrains were placed on his wrists and he was checked for a pulse. Having no signs of life, he was moved and the area near him was inspected,” said the press release.
Fry “appeared to have died from a self-inflicted shotgun wound, as he was lying on a shotgun,” Goldthorpe said.
Police recovered one spent shell casing in the shotgun.
Fry’s death capped a day and a half search triggered by the discovery of the body of 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.
Perez’s car was found in an Ontario School District parking at Southwest 3rd Avenue and Southwest 1st Street.
The discovery of Perez kicked off the county-wide search for Fry.
Goldthorpe said Wednesday, Oct. 11, that “suspicious circumstances” at the woman’s house, and the inability of the family to contact her, instigated the missing person’s report.
For years, Fry had clashes with the criminal justice system in Union County.
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 at the home of the mother of his children while they were present.
In 2020, Fry pleaded guilty to theft, burglary and credit card fraud. Then, in 2021, court records show, he was convicted 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.
Goldthorpe said the investigation into Perez’s death is ongoing.
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