Cold Case: Portland woman burglarized days before murder - KPTV - FOX 12

Woman's apartment burglarized days before murder

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Renee Harvey was the girl next door; friends described her as shy, trusting and vulnerable.

The small town girl from Montana moved to Portland to pursue an acting and singing career.

She had landed a role in a local performance of "Oklahoma" and was performing in the church choir. She had big dreams for her future.

But on Jan. 15, 1988, Harvey, 25, was found strangled in her apartment on Southeast 27th Avenue.

Just a few days before her murder, cold case investigators said, someone had burglarized the apartment. Friends said Harvey had concerns other tenants in the building may have been involved.

"Naturally, she was quite fearful of staying alone in the apartment," said cold case investigator George Young. "The next few nights after the burglary, she had her friends stay with her."

Detectives said Harvey was so frightened by the burglary that she decided to move. The day of her murder, they said, she had put a deposit on another apartment.

Police said she left the new apartment at 6:30 p.m. to go home. Friends told detectives they called Harvey's apartment several times around 7:45 p.m., but she didn't answer.

Police said a concerned friend then went to the apartment to check on Harvey and found her dead on the bathroom floor.

Detectives initially focused their attention on the burglary. They told FOX 12 they identified the burglar through information from an informant, but there was no conclusive evidence that connected the crimes.

Investigators discovered Harvey had no enemies and no relationship issues.

"Was she a target for some particular reason?" said Young. "Probably not, except where she lived and the people that associated with that particular address at that time."

Police said some forensic evidence at the crime scene is being re-tested and may now prove helpful thanks to new forensic technology.

If you have any information about this crime, you can leave a Crime Stoppers tip online at text CRIMES (274637) and in the subject line put 823HELP, followed by your tip, or call 503-823-HELP (4357) and leave your tip information.

Visit to download the Crime Stoppers app for the iPhone or Droid.

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