Police in Pendleton are investigating the homicide of Amyjane Nicole Brandhagen, 19, whose body was found Tuesday in a hotel room, Umatilla County District Attorney Dan Primus said Wednesday morning.

“There is little or no information available concerning motive or the identity of persons(s) responsible for the death,” Primus said in a written statement. “This case is being actively investigated as a homicide.”

Brandhagen is the daughter of David and Cathy Brandhagen of Pendleton. The family relayed a message they didn’t want to talk to the media, according to Umatilla County Sheriff’s John Trumbo.

Kal Patel, the manager of Travelodge, 411 S.E. Dorion Ave., across the street from the Pendleton City Hall and Vert Auditorium, told police at 3:19 p.m. Tuesday there was a dead or unconscious female in the bathroom in Room 231, according to the Pendleton police activity log. Soon after members of the local major crimes team were on the scene.

Brandhagen worked at the hotel. Patel declined to comment for the story.

Brandhagen was a 2011 graduate of Pendleton High School, and she attended the Pendleton Free Methodist Church, 1711 S.W. 44th St. Senior Pastor Scott Little said she and her family have attended the church for virtually all of the 13 years he has served there, though recently she may have been going to another church.

“Amy really is a good-hearted person, very giving and caring, full of live and free-spirited,” Little said.

He said he met with the family Tuesday night in the wake of the police investigation. He and other church members, he said, are assisting the Brandhagens with handling the surge of phone calls from concerned family and friends.

The cause of death was difficult to determine, Primus said, and an Oregon State Police medical examiner has scheduled an autopsy at 8 a.m. Thursday. He said two detectives from the local major crimes team would be there when that happens.

Brandhagen also worked at the Subway on Southgate in Pendleton. Subway manager Sacha Nevarez said Brandhagen took the job about five or six months ago.

“She was a sweetheart, she was,” Nevarez said. “I don’t know how anyone could have done that to her.”

Primus also asked that anyone with information about Brandhagen’s death to call the Pendleton Police Department at 541-276-4111, or police dispatchers at 541-966-3651.

This is the first homicide this year in Pendleton.


Contact Phil Wright at pwright@eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0833.

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