Body of Merrilee Cooley found in trunk of car in Oregon.
UPDATE: In March 2017, KOIN reported that court documents stated that Merrilee was found in the trunk with handcuffs, a bag of cookies, used duct tape, and water.
Original story: The Clackamah County Sheriff’s Office have found the body of Merrilee Cooley, 68, in the truck of her car. The authorities have stated that it is a homicide case, but no other information has come out, like the actual cause of death nor any persons of interest.
Who would murder Merrilee Cooley?
Merrilee Cooley, who was affectionately known as “Meme” was last seen on Dec. 26 when her son, Bryan Eilers and his wife, Wendy Eilers and her grandchildren came to visit her for the holidays at her home in a mobile home park near Southeast Roots Road in Portland. Bryan told OregonLive that his mom had trouble getting around now and needed a walker, and had been living by herself since 2008. The visit went well and Bryan and his family returned home.
On Dec. 28, friends came to visit and check on Merrilee. They were surprised to find her not answering the door and then realized the front door was unlocked. Inside they found her purse dumped on the floor, and her walker knocked over and her black 2010 Kia Optima was missing. The car keys were found to be missing from her purse. Everyone knew that Merrilee was dependent on her walker and would not have been able to leave her home without it.
Wendy posted on Facebook,
“They discovered her house ransacked, her purse dumped out, the house completely unlocked, her slipper outside, and furniture dumped over. Her car and car key are also gone. She uses a walker and/or a wheelchair to get around and both of those are at the house along with her life alert necklace, her cell phone, wallet, etc.”
Andelain Pierce posted on Facebook,
“We NEIGHBORS have ALL been interviewed. especially those of us who were close to get. I personally have her space that day because she felt so awful Monday night that she could BARELY walk to the bathroom and I was sick myself. With a loud child here as well, it’s QUITE possible we couldn’t have heard anything if we’d tried. Her bedroom light ONLY was on when I noticed and tried to call but that was ORDINARY and she did it often when she was sick. Trust me. We Would have been at her aid in a heartbeat!!”
Tracking back the family knew she had been on Facebook as she posted a photo around 3:30 on Monday afternoon, but they could not find any evidence that anyone saw her on Tuesday.
On Jan. 5, the Milwaukie Police found Merrilee’s car at the Miramonte Lodge Apartments in Milwaukie reported OregonLive. Inside the truck was a body, which was likely Merrilee. A coroner has to confirm the identity.
There are no known leads as to what happened to Merrilee. Who would harm a woman that she saw everyone as a friend. But maybe that is what someone took advantage of. Did someone knock on Merrilee’s door that night and she happily answered the knock thinking it was a friend of hers.
Because of the nearness of homes in a mobile home park, not much goes unseen, and neighbors do know who comes and goes, but it doesn’t seem as though anyone saw or heard anything out of the ordinary.
My mother used to live in a mobile home park and I felt she was very safe there. One day I found out that she was opening the door to everyone that knocked, something which was very out of character for her. I drove up one day and found her talking with a man I didn’t recognize. I found out that the man knocked on my mom’s door regularly asking for work, and my mom just gave him money so he would go away. She, in her senior years, thought this was the best way to handle it. She felt it was safer to give him money and he would go away not mad at her, than to not give him money and worry he would try to break into her home or harm her. Is it possible that Merrilee befriended someone the same way my mother did? Maybe the circumstances are not the same, but with Merrilee known to be a cheery, talkative person, she saw everyone as a friend and probably was visited a lot by many different people. It probably did not cross her mind that she had to worry about any of them. Maybe the police will find that Merrill’s murder is not random, but someone who she knew.
“Please continue praying for our family, especially her son, Bryan, her grandkids, and all of the other kids who wake up today to find out someone has taken their Meme away.”
If you have any information on what happened to Merrilee, please call the Clackamah County Police Department at 503-655-8211. There is a reward for information.