BEND, OR -- More than four months after Sara Gomez’s body was found 20 miles east of Bend, the state Medical Examiner says her cause of death could not be determined. But, her manner of death was homicide.
The 24-year-old woman's body was discovered in late May, wrapped in a tarp, comforter, blanket, foam mattress and an inflatable raft – secured by duct tape. The M.E. noted her body was in an advanced state of decomposition, which the Deschutes County District Attorney says reaffirms his belief that Gomez was killed by her ex-boyfriend in February. Bryan Penner was last seen with Gomez February 18; he was arrested four days later. Penner committed suicide while in custody in March.
D.A. John Hummel issued a statement Monday, saying, "The Medical Examiner's report brings this matter to a close for law enforcement: there is no doubt that Bryan Penner killed Sara Gomez. Of course, the closure of this case by law enforcement does not bring closure to Sara's family. They will live every day with the memory of the strong, smart and beloved member of their family who was taken from them. I hope they take some solace in knowing that Sara's spirit will live on in this community long after Bryan Penner is but a distant memory."