Divers search for weapon in Brookings couple murder

May 03, 2001 11:00 pm
A diver removes his flipper as another emerges after searching for the gun. (The Daily Triplicate /Stephen Merrill Corley).
A diver removes his flipper as another emerges after searching for the gun. (The Daily Triplicate /Stephen Merrill Corley).

By Jennifer Grimes

Triplicate staff writer

Law enforcement officials of both Curry and Del Norte counties searched the Smith River yesterday for the gun used to kill Dorothy and Edward Hoenshell.

We got a tip (Wednesday) night that the gun weve been looking for was thrown into the river. The tip said it was thrown off the middle of the Dr. Fine bridge, said Curry County Sheriffs detective David Gardiner.

On April 9, the Hoenshells were shot to death in their Brookings home. The next day, their grandson, Gregory Arthur Hoenshell, 21, was arrested in Crescent City and considered a suspect.

The tip to Brookings police comes after the Curry County Crime Stoppers offered $1,000 for information leading to the recovery of a .22 rifle that police believe was taken from the Hoenshells home.

Searchers had not found the gun under the bridge as of late yesterday afternoon.

If we did find the gun, we could have the family identify it, then we would give it to the Oregon State Police Crime Lab. And they would do whatever they do with it, Gardiner said.

The sunny day and slow current of the Smith River made visibility for the five divers good, yesterday.

Gardiner said with the relatively low water depth and rocky bottom, the gun, if thrown there, probably would not have drifted far.

He added that despite being wet, the gun may still have fingerprints or other evidence of its user.

No hard evidence has been pinned on Gregory Hoenshell for the double murder thus far, according to Gardiner.

Brookings Police Detective John Bishop said the investigation will continue in both Del Norte County and Brookings, as Gregory Hoenshell travelled back and forth before and after the double murder.

We just keep chipping away. Theres a lot of the case down here, too, so weve asked these guys to help us, Bishop said about Del Norte County officials.

Anyone with information should contact Brookings Police Detective John Bishop at 541-469-3118 or 888-974-0000 or the Del Norte County Sheriffs Department at 464-4191.