Letter to the Editor: Family, Friends of Aron Christensen Aren’t Going Anywhere


It's been 90 days — still nothing.

I had a call scheduled with my Uncle Aron for Aug. 23. We were supposed to talk about the logistics of an October show we planned to play in Portland, our first show together. 

On the call, I planned to thank him again for all of his help. I wanted to tell him how grateful I was that I had a musician like him to help me chase my dreams. I hoped to tell him how much it meant to me that I would get to share a stage with him.

Of course, the call never happened. I never got to say any of those things.

Aron Christensen and his dog Buzz were killed while hiking on the Walupt Lake Trail on Aug. 19.

Since the moment we learned of their deaths, we were left in the dark, perplexed. Initially, they told us he died of a heart attack with no signs of foul play, leaving us to wonder how Buzz had died. 

Then, nine days later, we learned (unofficially) that Aron died with a bullet in him. They told us that they knew who had been shooting in the area. They told us the shooters were “good kids.” They told us that they had talked to the two shooters. They told us Aron was likely "already dead" when he was shot. They told us to wait for the autopsy and other test results. Then they told us not to go to the media. 

For a patient and wordless 64 days, we didn’t. Sixty-seven days passed before the autopsy results confirmed that Aron never had a heart attack. His cause of death was a gunshot wound to the chest. He was killed.

Sixty-eight days after his murder, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office released a statement that seemingly told the murderers’ version of events. Based on the information that we were given and have gathered, the story and the facts do not add up.

At a minimum, you and I both know that "good kids" don't kill people. They don't kill leashed puppies. They don't leave bodies in the woods.

Yet, while we find our lives in disrepair, altered by tragedy and the maddening search for answers, the killers walk free. They go about their lives, believing they got away with murder.

They are seemingly unmoved by the devastation they have forced upon Aron’s friends and family, grief resulting from the decisions those two people made the night that they killed an innocent man and his dog in cold blood and left them dead on the trail.

I hope they understand that we, Aron’s family and growing community, are in this for the long haul. I hope that the systems that have allowed them to walk free for three months understand that we are not going away. We will continue to push for accountability, for justice, for the truth.

Aron was loved. His life meant something.

Ninety days. 


Steadfast, heartbroken and still hopeful,


Racyne Parker

Denver, Colorado