Hermiston police on Thursday released a timeline of the tragic events last month that ended with the death of a 14-year-old Hermiston boy and the murder-suicide of two volunteer high school coaches.
James “JJ” Hurtado, 14, of Hermiston, was discovered missing after police responded to reports of a shooting involving his mother, Andria Bye, 35, at a house in Hermiston. The teen’s body was later found in a remote, rugged area outside of town.
Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston said Jason E. Huston, 45, of Hermiston had picked up the teen at 10 a.m. at his grandparents’ home in Umatilla with plans for Frisbee golf.
Instead, he drove him to a spot near the Umatilla River outside of Hermiston and killed him with one shot from a handgun.
About 11 a.m. Huston drove into Hermiston, parked at the Foxwood Apartments and walked 100 yards to the home of his lifelong friend, Kenneth E. Valdez.
He kicked in the front door and found Valdez and Andria Bye, 35, sleeping in a bedroom. Bye is Hurtado’s mother and Huston’s former girlfriend. Huston shot Valdez at least three times with a Glock 9mm handgun and shot Bye once in the back.
Huston then called his mother who, in turn, called 911 because she believed something was wrong. Huston also called 911 to say there had been a shooting. He then sat on the bed and shot himself, said Edmiston.
“As I have said before, inasmuch as we want to learn the “Why” we may never get to a point where that is known,” he said.
Edmiston said crime lab tests are still needed to confirm that the same gun was used, and cellphone records are also being checked.
“We have unconfirmed accounts from associates of Huston regarding his military involvement in the first Gulf War and subsequent treatment from the Veteran’s Administration,” Edmiston said. “We do know an incredible amount of pills were discovered at Huston’s residence. These pills (were) for things like depression and anxiety appeared to be prescribed by the VA.”
“We are navigating the red tape of the VA to try and glean additional information, and we have no timeline on when that may take place,” he said.