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BEND, OR -- The Oregon State Medical Examiner Monday determined that the body discovered last weekend by a hiker, east of Bend, is 24-year-old Sara Gomez. The cause of death is still under investigation.


Gomez disappeared in February and was believed to have been murdered by her ex-boyfriend. Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel believes Bryan Penner killed Gomez in his Bend apartment because she broke up with him, then wrapped the body in a tarp and took her to the remote location off Highway 20, where she was found more than three months later. 
Hummel issued the following statement Monday afternoon:

“Sara Gomez was a strong, smart, and beloved member of our community. In the final months of her life she found peace as she had finally broken free of the abusive relationship she was in with Bryan Penner.  Unfortunately, Penner did not accept this.  Penner killed Sara because if he could not have her no one would.  After killing Sara in his apartment he bound her body and transported her to her final resting spot off of HW 20 approximately 20 miles east of Bend.  Thank you to our local law enforcement officers who worked tirelessly in an effort to find Sara alive, and then to hold Penner accountable, and then to search for her body.  Sara is now home with her family.  We wish them well as they continue to grieve her passing.”


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