HILLSBORO, Ore.- On February 9, 2021, Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett conducted a swearing-in ceremony for Detective Kevin Winfield. Detective Winfield has more than 20 years of investigative experience and will be assigned to the Washington County District Attorney’s Office to re-examine violent crime cold cases that involve identified DNA associated with a possible suspect. Detective Winfield’s position is supported by a federal grant. The grant, “Prosecuting Cold Cases Using DNA,” is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance.

In 2020, the Washington County District Attorney’s Office was awarded $470,000 in grant funding to investigate violent crime cold cases. A cold case is defined as a case three or more years old that is not under active investigation. After an in-depth review, multiple cases were identified as suitable for further investigation under this grant. These cases date back to 1968 and several of them contain DNA evidence. Additionally, there are potentially hundreds of unsolved sexual assault cases over the decades that also contain DNA evidence.

In addition to Detective Winfield’s position, this grant also allows for the hiring of a forensic consultant. These two new positions will work with a prosecutor and victim advocate to form a Violent Crime Cold Case Multidisciplinary Team (MDT).  The MDT will work together to solve and prosecute violent crime cold cases in Washington County and in partnership with existing resources, including the Washington County Major Crimes Team.

“We are excited to welcome Detective Winfield as our first dedicated cold case detective. While these cases may be labeled ‘cold cases,’ to the victims and their families they are just as real and important today as they were when the crime occurred many years ago. This new position is an effort to ensuring these cases remain a top priority,” said Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton.

“I am grateful for the DA’s Office to acquire grant funding to make this possible. The hope to resolve cases that include lives lost due to homicidal violence elevates the voices of our community’s victims and provides a measure of hope for their family and friends. My sincere thanks to Detective Winfield as well for his devotion to these important cases,” added Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett.

Cold Case Spotlight

The 2001 murder of Loni Okaruru, a transgender woman, remains one of the cold cases identified for renewed investigation under this grant funding. Ms. Okaruru was found murdered in Hillsboro, Oregon. This horrifying crime shook the community then and continues to cause pain today. We've included a news clipping regarding this case from 2001.

Submit Your Tips

The Washington County District Attorney’s Office has established a website with more information on this effort. Anyone with information pertaining to a violent crime cold case should call local law enforcement. Tips can also be submitted directly to the Washington County District Attorney’s Office by calling 503-846-8671.

Media contact information
Stephen Mayer
Public Information Officer
February 09, 2021