April 11, 1997 in City

Elderly Man May Have Died Of Beating

By The Spokesman-Review

An elderly Otis Orchards man found dead in his garage appears to have been beaten to death, sheriff’s detectives said Thursday.

Detectives expect an autopsy today will confirm that 75-year-old Henry Heid died from several blows to the head.

Heid’s body was found Wednesday afternoon by his younger brother and two family friends.

The victim was lying on his back on the floor of the garage, near the right rear of his pickup truck. Blood was splattered around the truck. One of Heid’s shoes was next to the driver’s door.

“Our best guess is it’s a homicide,” said sheriff’s Lt. John Simmons. “We’re just about convinced it’s not an accident.”

Heid appears to have been dead overnight, Simmons said.

On Thursday, investigators spent a second day scouring Heid’s property - searching the farmhouse at 4009 N. Harvard, the garage and four outbuildings. Two groups of volunteers combed the freshly plowed fields surrounding Heid’s home looking for a weapon or anything that might have been taken from the home, which wasn’t ransacked, Simmons said.

Family members waited patiently in front of Heid’s home for the latest word on the investigation.

“We don’t know what really happened,” said Forrest Heid, who found his brother’s body.

He said he became worried after not hearing from Henry Heid that day. That was unusual for a man who spent the last 57 years of his life working diligently in his fields and helping neighbors, relatives and neighbors said.

“He treated everyone the same - done everything he could for them,” Forrest Heid said.

Neighbors were shaken by the death of the man who had lent them his trailer to haul pipes and helped them plow their fields.

Heid, a former processor at Kaiser’s Trentwood plant, lived alone in the house since 1940. He never married.

“He was just so kind,” said Gail Rich, whose husband, Gary, often borrowed Heid’s trailer. “He was always there to help. He talked your ear off. He loved to talk. He loved people.”

Rich said Henry Heid was particularly close to his brother. Until about a year ago, they lived within sight of each other.

“They were always together, doing their farm thing,” Rich said.

A woman who recently moved next door to Henry Heid was shocked by the murder investigation in the quiet, rural neighborhood.

“Not too much goes on without my dogs knowing,” said the woman, who refused to give her name.

Forrest Heid, who last saw his brother on Tuesday when the two fertilized his 13-acre field, was at a loss to explain who might have killed his brother.

“I don’t think he had an enemy in the world,” he said. “It seems like he got along with everyone.”

, DataTimes

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email