La Pine-area murder suspect, 86, appears in court

Autopsy set Wednesday for wife, 83, who was fatally shot

POSTED: 2:01 PM PST January 30, 2013    UPDATED: 3:23 PM PST January 29, 2013 
Lawremce Loeffler, Old Mill Rd.
La PINE, Ore. -

An 86-year-old La Pine-area man appeared in court Tuesday afternoon on a murder charge, one day after he allegedly shot and killed his 83-year-old wife.

Lawrence Hubert Loeffler called police to their Old Mill Road home Monday morning, saying his wife of 39 years was dead, officials said. An autopsy is planned Wednesday to confirm the cause of death of Betty Loeffler.

Lawrence Loeffler appeared before Deschutes County Circuit Judge Michael Adler for the very brief initial court appearance. He is due back in court Friday, presumably for arraignment on the formal charges.

Jail staff wheeled Loeffler, who uses a cane, into the camera's view. Loeffler was silent, but indicated he could not hear the court proceedings.

We'll have more tonight on NewsChannel 21 at 5 and 6.

Sheriff's Capt. Tim Edwards told NewsChannel 21 at the scene that Loeffler called 911 dispatchers around 8 a.m. to report his wife's death at their home on Old Mill Road and Day Road.

Betty Loeffler's body was found on the back porch of the couple's home, dead of a gunshot wound, Edwards said. He said he could not comment on initial police reports the woman had suffered head trauma.

Snow-covered Old Mill Road was blocked off and crime-scene tape encircled the home as detectives talked with neighbors and the crime scene was processed.

Edwards said no one else was in the home and it was an isolated incident. Lawrence Loeffler is cooperating with sheriff's detectives investigating the case, he added.

Edwards said Tuesday there were no indications of dementia or intoxication when they went to Loeffler's home and took him into custody.

Edwards said neighbors were interviewed and asked their knowledge about the Loefflers. He noted that a records check found no domestic-dispute calls to the sheriff's office from the address -- only a minor dispute with a wood-cutter about the price of wood.

Initial reports indicated Loeffler was told to come out of the home with his hands up, but that he could only lift one hand because he uses a cane. La Pine Fire medics were called in to check the man for possible breathing problems, those reports indicated.