A longtime Oregon Department of Justice employee named Paula Heusinkveld was found dead at her Salem home Wednesday, according to DOJ spokesman Jeff Manning. Heusinkveld, 51, joined DOJ in June of 1989 and worked as a management assistant in the trial division.
Details around the death are few, which caused the deceased woman's boss, Trial Division chief counsel Cheryl Pellegrini to send out the following email to DOJ staff late Thursday afternoon:
All – in an effort to tamp down rumor and speculation, here’s what is and is not happening:Despite that email, an unnamed DOJ employee was placed on leave on Friday after being interviewed by police. Manning said he could not comment on why that decision was made.
1. The Salem Police Department is conducting interviews related to Paula’s death.
2. One employee has been interviewed. More employees may be interviewed tomorrow or in the coming days.
3. There is no indication that any employee is the target of a criminal investigation related to Paula’s death.
4. There is no indication that Paula’s death involved foul play.
5. The police may want to have access to Paula’s office. If they do, I have consented. That’s what we know. Please do not speculate about what may or may come of the police inquiry. We just don’t know and the least helpful thing anyone can do right now is articulate what you or I may only fear as if it were grounded in fact. Thanks. CP