Deborah Lee Atrops Bio – Deborah Lee Atrops Wiki
Nearly 35 years after his estranged wife Deborah Lee Atrops was found dead in the trunk of a car, a 68-year-old man from Oregon has been formally charged with her murder, authorities said.
Deborah Lee Atrops was 30 years old.
DETAIL OF INCIDENCE:
Robert Elmer Atrops was arrested at his Newberg home on March 2 and charged with one count of second-degree murder in connection with the 1988 death of 30-year-old Deborah Lee Atrops, according to a press release from the Washington County District Attorney’s Office.
In November 1988, Deborah Lee Atrops was reported missing by her husband, then 34-year-old Robert, the release states. Though still married, the couple had separated five months earlier and were living together in a Salem apartment with their then 8-month-old daughter.
According to the release, on Nov. 29, 1988, Robert went to pick up the couple’s child from a babysitter in Newberg while Deborah was at a hair appointment in Tigard. Deborah was reportedly expected to be at the home before 8 p.m. but never showed up.
Robert then called several friends and family members to see if they knew where Deborah was before reporting her missing to the Tigard Police Department, authorities said.
The next day, Nov. 30, 1988, he told investigators he still had not heard from his wife, the D.A.’s office said. Deborah’s car was then entered into databases used by law enforcement as a vehicle connected to a missing person.
Deborah’s black Honda Accord was reportedly recovered by police officers in Beaverton on Dec. 1, 1988, after a city public works employee reported a suspicious abandoned car with keys in the driver’s seat.
The two-door sedan also had its driver’s side window down and was missing license plates, authorities said.
Investigators said Deborah’s body was found inside the trunk of the car.
“Based on the positioning of her body, it appeared Mrs. Atrops had been placed in the trunk after her death,” the release states.
An autopsy determined Deborah had been assaulted and strangled. Her death was ruled a homicide.
Despite more than three decades of investigation, the case eventually went cold.
Detectives with the Washington County District Attorney’s Office Cold Case Multidisciplinary Unit re-opened the case in 2021, about a year after forming a partnership with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
The cold case unit was formed in 2020 after receiving a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Washington County District Attorney’s Office Cold Case Multidisciplinary Unit re-opened the case in 2021, the release states. After receiving a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, the cold case unit was established in 2020 in partnership with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
For the next year and a half, investigators said they re-interviewed multiple witnesses and had forensic evidence reexamined.
The charge against Robert was eventually brought forward on Feb. 28, when he was indicted by a grand jury.
“I am proud of the work our Cold Case Unit has done to ensure that victims and cases are not forgotten, despite the passage of time,” Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton said in the release.
Robert was booked into the Washington County Jail and was scheduled to be arraigned on March 2.
It is not immediately clear if he has entered a plea or retained an attorney to speak on his behalf.