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Area police on lookout for person of interest
Pendleton Police and regional law enforcement agencies are on the lookout for a person of interest connected to a pair of crimes in the Pendleton area.
Police are watching out for a man known by law enforcement officers as Danny Wu. He is a 23-year-old Asian male who is about 5-foot-7 and weighs about 180 pounds. He has brown hair, brown eyes and a tattoo inside his left wrist that says “Semper Fi.”
La Grande Police Chief Brian Harvey said there is no information to indicate that Wu may be in or headed toward the La Grande area, but his officers are ready to respond to anything.
“If we had a sighting of him, we would treat it as a high-risk situation,” he said.
Wu is believed to be extremely dangerous.
Police believe Wu may be responsible for an assault that has left a Pendleton woman in critical condition. Karen Lange, 53, was reported missing around 11 p.m. Aug. 9. She was found the following morning several feet away from a walking path. She was unconscious and had lost a lot of blood from a head injury, according to the Pendleton Police Department.
Footage from surveillance cameras show Wu stalking Lange with what appears to be some kind of concealed weapon behind his back, according to police. Detectives later found some galvanized pipe they believe was used to assault Lange.
Just a few days later, Pendleton police issued a release saying the department has reason to believe that Wu is a person of interest in the August 2012 murder of Amy Jane Brandhagen. The 19-year-old woman was found dead in a Pendleton motel where she was a housekeeper. She had been stabbed multiple times in the chest.
Oregon State Police Forensic teams matched the DNA found on the Lange assault weapon to DNA recovered at the Brandhagen murder scene, according to Pendleton police.
Police say Wu is a transient who has been in Pendleton since August 2012. The Pendleton Police Department has had 27 contacts with Wu in the past year. Those were a result of trespassing, illegal lodging, outstanding bench warrants and other city ordinance violations.
Wu is described as a loner who is a frequent user of public libraries, police say. He is also known to arm himself with knives, screwdrivers or any device that can be used as a weapon.
Harvey said there have been no sightings around here and local police have had no contact with him.
Still, residents are advised to stay away from anyone they think may be Wu.
“If someone sees someone who they believe to be him, call 911,” Harvey said. “Do not approach him. Do not attempt to verify his identity.”