Anniversaries are formative rhythms, ordinary days that come around again, like carousel horses carrying the joys and losses of life.

For the children of Steven Haugen and Jeanette Bauman, last week marked the 10th anniversary of one of life’s imaginable losses. On July 1, 2005, the couple and their dog were found shot to death at a remote campsite just 25 miles from their home in Oakridge.

“I tried to tell myself it was like every other year, until it got close,” Dan Bauman said of the 10th anniversary of his mother’s slaying. “It wasn’t.”

What is it about a 10-year anniversary that is so much weightier than a ninth or an 11th?

The Lane County Sheriff’s Office never named a suspect in the slayings of Haugen and Bauman, both teachers in their rural Oregon town. Eugene station KVAL reported this week that evidence suggests the couple may have been shot from a distance, then again at close range, leading detectives to believe they may have been killed for killing’s sake.

“There’s somebody out there that knows something. I have a hard time understanding what that person is like, how they can live with themselves,” said Bauman, who lives in Minnesota.

Know something?

The Crime Stoppers number is 1-800-850-0580. There is a $10,000 reward for any information that leads to a conviction.

In 2012, detectives looked into the possibility that serial killer Israel Keyes might have been to blame. That idea petered out, Bauman said.

“There was part of me that wanted to believe he did it, to have this big question answered, but of course there’s always that side that is skeptical,” said Kelly Haugen, Steve Haugen’s daughter, who declined to share where she lives because of the uncertainty surrounding the case.

“I’ve accepted that we may never know.”

She craves closure, she said, and sometimes feels frightened by the idea that the killer could still be alive and free.

She said she went fly fishing July 1, in honor of her outdoorsy father. He’d taught her how.

The next day, she joined Lane County detectives and television reporters at the site of the killings. She’d been there only once before, on the very first anniversary.

“It was heartbreaking,” she said. “It brought back a lot of emotions of heartbreak and sadness and grief and mourning.”

KVAL captured her tears on video. It was worth it, she said. A little publicity may be all detectives need to close the case.

And then maybe, just maybe, the next anniversary would feel a little lighter.

— Melissa Binder

[email protected]
503-294-7656
@binderpdx

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