Teens Charged In Fatal Fire Near Willamina

Photo: KATU

The Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office has arrested two teenage boy in connection with a fire that destroyed a house and left a man dead on Wednesday.

Firefighters responded to the fire on Wednesday at about 2:37 a.m. The house was located at 38100 SW Tenbush Lane in rural Willamina.  It’s about two miles northwest of the city limits.  

A short time later, fire personnel arrived and found the residential structure fully involved.  Once the fire was suppressed, the body of a person was found inside. It’s believed to be 79-year-old Dieter H. Aulig.  A female resident, Theresa Aulig suffered non-life threatening burns to her upper body and was treated and released. 

The Yamhill County Fire Investigation Team (F.I.T.), consisting of members of the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police, Oregon State Fire Marshal and other Yamhill County Fire Personnel responded to the scene to investigate the cause of the fire.  During the course of this investigation, the presence of fire accelerant was located in the house.  The team suspected arson as the cause of the fire and a criminal investigation began.

At that time, investigators were unable to find the grandson of the residents. They feared he may have been injured during the fire and still present somewhere on the property. Yamhill County Search and Rescue arrived and searched the area, unable to find the boy.  He was located the following day, uninjured, at a friend’s residence in Willamina. 

Through witness interviews and follow up work, investigators identified two primary suspects in the arson.  One of these suspects was the grandson.

The other suspect is a 15-year-old boy from Willamina. He was located and detained on a traffic stop after a surveillance team spotted him at a residence in Willamina on the evening of June 13th. He was placed in protective custody at the Yamhill County Juvenile Detention Center in the early morning hours of June 14th.   

Investigators served a series of search warrants in Willamina at about 6:30 p.m. that day in conjunction with the arson case. The grandson was located during the service of those warrants. He was placed into protective custody and lodged at the Yamhill County Juvenile Detention Center in McMinnville. 

The grandson is being held on charges of Murder, Arson I, and Aggravated Theft I. 

The 15-year-old is being held on Attempted Arson I and Aggravated Theft I.

Both juveniles were arraigned on their charges on June 15th.

The investigation has shown the boys conspired to steal a large amount of currency being stored at the Aulig residence.  Nearly $50,000 and other evidence of that theft were recovered during the service of the search warrants.

The Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office was assisted in the service of the warrants by the Oregon State Police, the Newberg-Dundee Police and the McMinnville Police. 

KEX News is not releasing the names of the boys at this time, because they’re charged in juvenile court.

The investigation is continuing and additional, peripheral persons of interest are being identified. 

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