MYRTLE POINT/COQUILLE, Ore. — A Coos County man accused of killing three people over the weekend went before a judge on Monday. Many of those who knew some of the victims personally wouldn’t speak with us on camera, but said this was a terrible tragedy and their hearts went out to the families.
All was quiet and calm on Big Creek Road Monday afternoon, but that was not the case just a day ago when investigators said a passerby stumbled upon more than just a fire.
Coos County District Attorney Paul Frasier said, “He went down to the house and saw the smoke. He knocked on the door and didn’t get an answer. There was smoke coming from the place, but he didn’t know if there was anyone in there or not. He decided to go in and found the body of Kathleen Nelson.”
With the help of the witness, police tracked down 65-year-old Edward Nelson, Kathleen Nelson’s husband. Investigators believe Nelson killed his wife in their home before setting it on fire. Neighbors couldn’t quite believe what was going on.
“Everybody seems to be as astounded as I am. They don’t seem to understand it because out here most everyone tries to get along just to get along,” said neighbor Robert Thompson.
But it doesn’t end there, after more digging investigators believe that Nelson also killed his two neighbors before burning their home down too. Most neighbors remained pretty tight-lipped, but said the news is a shock to everyone.
Thompson said, “My first reaction to it was it was just nuts. I’ve heard a few stories, a lot of gossip on it, but I won’t get into it because I don’t know the whole truth.”
And no one does just yet, the investigation is ongoing. Nelson was in court for the first time on Monday where he was provided an attorney. He had little to say and the arraignment lasted less than ten minutes before he was sent back on his way. While this is the third multiple homicide in the county in the last five years, residents say they’re not worried.
“It doesn’t really bring up any more concerns than if I were in the city. It happens in different communities due to frustration whatever you want to call it. It just happens,” said Thompson.
In this particular case, the district attorney said they believe they have their one and only suspect and the public should feel safe in that regard.
The case will be back in court on Thursday to face a grand jury. Assuming there is an indictment, Nelson will return to court the following Monday.