Man remembers daughter found killed near Pittock Mansion as a ‘b - KPTV - FOX 12

Man remembers daughter found killed near Pittock Mansion as a ‘beautiful soul’

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Rick Vaughan with a photo of his daughter Annieka Vaughan on Friday (KPTV) Rick Vaughan with a photo of his daughter Annieka Vaughan on Friday (KPTV)
Recent family photos of Annieka Vaughan (Washington County Sheriff's Office/KPTV) Recent family photos of Annieka Vaughan (Washington County Sheriff's Office/KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The last time Rick Vaughan saw his daughter, she was getting ready for homecoming and they talked about “girly stuff” like dresses and makeup.

Even after she disappeared and became the focus of a major search effort, Vaughan was confident 15-year-old Annieka would be found safe, she would return home and they would continue talking about the future. 

On Friday, the Oregon State Medical Examiner confirmed Annieka was found dead near Pittock Mansion, the victim of a suspected murder-suicide carried out by 23-year-old Zachary Petersen of Pasco, Washington.

Investigators had asked for the public’s help finding Annieka, saying she ran away from home Oct. 30 and was believed to be with Petersen, who was described as suicidal and possibly armed with a gun. 

Vaughan did not want to talk about the investigation or the circumstances surrounding his daughter's death Friday. Instead, he chose to reflect on the joy his daughter brought to family and friends.

“She touched a lot of lives and we’re seeing that now,” Vaughan said Friday afternoon.

Vaughan described Annieka as an artistic person with a beautiful soul who was interested in singing, drawing and writing poetry.

He said the hardest part is thinking about not seeing her go through high school, get married and experience “everything that made her so unique and special.”

He described learning of her death as the worst possible outcome and, “the worst thing that could ever happen to somebody,” but he said his daughter would have wanted him to thank everyone who tried to find her. 

“As I taught Annie early on to give thanks, this is my way of saying thank you to every single person involved,” Vaughan said.

Vaughan advised all parents to hug their children and say, “I love you.”

“At least we’ve got some closure, and we’re thankful for that, because there’s a lot of people in similar situations who never get that,” he said.

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