Man, 20, dies in second recent homicide in The Dalles

An altercation between two males in the parking lot of Fred Meyer on Sixth Street Sunday night, Sept. 9, ended in a homicide that is now under investigation.

Officials say the case appears to be unrelated to another recent homicide in The Dalles.

Mark Anthony Labonte, 20, died about 1:40 a.m. Sept. 10 after being taken by LifeFlight to Oregon Health and Science University in Portland for treatment of severe injuries. The dispute between the victim and another male reportedly took place about 9 p.m. Sunday in the parking lot but authorities have declined to provide further information about the incident.

“The manner of death is homicide but the details of the exact cause of death are being investigated by law enforcement and are not being released at this time,” stated a Sept. 10 press release written by Wasco County District Attorney Eric Nisley and The Dalles Police Chief Jay Waterbury.

Law enforcement officials have stated that a suspect description has been developed in the case and they are now seeking that person for further questioning.

A candlelight vigil was held Monday evening for Labonte and a shrine with candles still burning remained at Fred Meyer this morning on the triangle of ground next to the can depository.

Many friends have left messages of loss and have shared memories on Labonte’s public Facebook page since his death.

“Take care, my friend. You are a good guy. You didn’t deserve this. You were too young, bro,” wrote Jaime Hernandez.

“I just saw you last week,” said Chuy Olivares. “You were laughing and enjoying life. Now to know you are gone. You will be missed big time.”

Labonte was in The Dalles Wahtonka High School’s class of 2011, and has a family member still attending the school. Principal Nick Nelson remembers him as an easy-going kid.

“He seemed to get along well with others,” Nelson said. “He seemed to me to enjoy life.”

The high school is prepared to offer counseling services to any student in need through the counseling office, Nelson said. The school can also draw on counselors from other schools under its crisis team plan.

Nisley said Monday that Labonte’s death is unrelated to the murder of Scott Erlenbush, 46, that occurred Aug. 25 in the AmeriTitle parking lot off Second Street in The Dalles.

Police Sgt. Dan Nelson is asking anyone with information about the Sept. 9 homicide, or the homicide of Erlenbush, to call 541-296-2613 and speak to himself or any other officer that is available.

The Wasco County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon State Police are assisting in both investigations.

Nisley said Monday that all leads that are given to police in the Erlenbush case are being investigated but there is no new information to share in that case and a suspect description has not yet been developed.

Detectives have been trying to track down the driver of a vehicle that might have given Erlenbush a ride to The Dalles from his home in Dallesport on Aug. 25. Surveillance footage of the parking lot near the Shell Station at the east-end of town shows Erlenbush near gold full-sized sedan, similar to an older Taurus or Mercury Sable.

The driver of the car is shown as a white male in his 20s with dark blonde or light brown hair. He is unshaven with a small goatee and a lower lip piercing.

Latest stories

Latest video:

Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



Log in to comment

Columbia Gorge news and businesses