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Story by James Daniels - The Oregon Herald
Published on Friday March 12, 2010 - 9:14 AM
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SUNRIVER — Mother, Father, and seven year old son, were all found dead in their Sunriver home Thursday morning.The call came in around 10:30 in the morning to police dispatcher. Someone was reporting seeing a person hanging outside a garage at a home on Hermosa Road, south of Sunriver. Deschutes County Sheriff and Oregon State Police arrived on the scene to find Joachim Steffan, 40, hanging outside the garage. Inside the home they found bodies of Dagmar Steffan, 49, and Pascal Steffan, 7.

Late that evening, police had released no information about a cause of death for the family. They were calling the incident a homicide, but said they were not looking for suspects and did not believe residents in the area were in any danger.

Darren and Robin Weeks live across the street and said they knew the family for several years. They described Joachim as an entrepreneur. “He was very easygoing, very optimistic,” Darren Weeks said.

Dagmar Steffan was a home baker who once held a neighborhood bake sale and with plans to open her own bakery. She specialized in sweet treats from Germany, where neighbors said both Joachim and Dagmar were from.

Pascal came over to the Weeks' home frequently to play with the couple's two boys. Robin Weeks said the short, stocky boy had prefect manners and enjoyed jumping on his trampoline.

“The boys enjoyed playing video games and jumping on the trampoline,” she said. “He'd stay out there and his mom would call him to come home, and he'd say, ‘No, no, I'm having too much fun.'” Several neighbors said they would often see Pascal playing outside in the yard or walking down the street to the bus stop.

Hunter Ramsey, 11, and Brandon Mehren, 12, who had ridden over on their bikes to check out the scene, said they waited for the bus every day with Pascal, a student at Three Rivers Elementary. But on Thursday, they'd opted to ride their bikes to school and did not discover what happened to the boy until they returned home at the end of the day.

Jerry and Betty Rockow, who live down the street, said the family got along well, had a close relationship. Joachim was often outside with his son, and both enjoyed riding four-wheelers.

Late Thursday, detectives were still on the scene in the quiet, wooded neighborhood. Wearing gloves and yellow crime-scene coverings over their shoes, police walked back and forth from the house, sometimes carrying items out. Neighbors said Joachim Steffan had been out of town for several weeks because he'd found work outside the area. He had just returned home for a couple of weeks, but they had recently put their house on the market, and had not been coming and going as often as they had in the past.