June 21, 2021 — Multiple law enforcement agencies were part of an extensive search for a suspect linked to three deaths in North Bend, Ore., on Friday. The incidents were connected to 30-year-old Oen Evan Nicholson, who Coos County District Attorney R. Paul Frasier identified as the subject at Saturday’s press briefing. After a manhunt between North Bend and Noti on Highway 126, which caused a closure of the highway, Nicholson escaped. By Sunday morning, he had turned himself in to authorities in Wisconsin.
Nicholson had previously resided in California and had been living in the North Bend area since the fall of 2020.
On June 18, a 9-1-1 call at 9:58 a.m. reported that there had been a hit-and-run incident at RV park at The Mill Casino, where a pickup truck hit two people, married couple Anthony and Linda Oyster, from Florida.
Anthony died at the scene and Linda was taken by ambulance to Bay Area Hospital before being transported to PeaceHealth Sacred Heart at RiverBend. She remains in critical condition.
Three minutes later, a 9-1-1 call reported gunshots at Herbal Choices Marijuana Dispensary in North Bend.
When police arrived, they found a woman deceased, 47-year-old Coos Bay resident Jennifer L. Davidson.
People at the scene described the suspect as a white male adult standing approximately 6-feet 2-inches and weighing approximately 200 pounds. He was further described as having short hair and wearing a dark-colored T-Shirt and blue jeans. He was driving a white Dodge 243LWL, which had appeared at both incidents.
This led the North Bend Police Department to investigate and determined that an RV at The Mill Casino RV Park was owned by the same person who owned the truck.
Police then discovered a third deceased person inside the RV — identified as 83-year-old Charles Simms Nicholson, who was possibly related to the suspect.
The day’s events weren’t over.
Shortly after noon, Oregon State Police and Lane County Sheriff’s Office responded to the report of a vehicle crash on Highway 126 near milepost 39 in Noti. A white Dodge 243LWL remained at the scene, on fire, though the driver was missing. It was reported that he had run into the woods, possibly holding a gun.
A manhunt then followed, with delays to traffic as law enforcement completely closed the highway between mileposts 38 and 14.
The search proved to be unsuccessful and the suspect remained at large until he appeared in Wisconsin.
The North Bend Police Department held several press conferences to keep the community informed of the situation.
On Sunday at 8:20 a.m., North Bend Police Chief Robert Kappelman reported that Nicholson had turned himself in.
Kappelman and Frasier then thanked the numerous agencies who assisted in the investigation: Oregon State Police, Oregon State Police Forensic Laboratory, Coos Bay Police Department, Coos County Sheriff’s Office, Coquille Tribal Police, Confederated Tribal Police, Coquille Police Department, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration law enforcement, the Coos County Medical Examiner’s Office, the Coos County District Attorney’s Office, Lane County Sheriff’s Office and the Oregon Department of Justice.
“Those … are just a sampling of the dedicated people who have worked tirelessly on this case,” Kappelman said. “Much more work is yet to be done, but I want to thank every agency involved for the diligent work of their personnel.”
North Bend Mayor Jessica Engelke also expressed thanks, especially to the North Bend Police Department, which is the lead on the investigation.
“I am so proud of their courage and commitment over the last two days. These agencies worked as a team to quickly identify a suspect in this case and worked tirelessly overnight processing the crime scenes and actively pursuing every lead,” she said. “We here in North Bend simply couldn’t ask for more professionalism from our officers and their colleagues, and I am deeply grateful. Thank you.”
The mayor also extended kind words to the victims and to the community.
“On behalf of the City of North Bend, I would like to express my deepest condolences and prayers for the victims, their families, and everyone else impacted by this terrible act of violence carried out in our community,” Engelke said. “Words fall short of describing the tragedy that took place on Friday and the ensuing events in Lane County, and we are all left incredibly shaken. This is something you hope never happens in your community, in the town you call home.”