Deaths of Salem couple in March were murder-suicide, DA announces

The deaths of a Salem couple in March were ruled a murder-suicide by the Marion County District Attorney, the DA’s office announced Thursday.
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 4:20 PM PDT
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SALEM Ore. (KPTV) - The deaths of a Salem couple in March were ruled a murder-suicide by the Marion County District Attorney, the DA’s office announced Thursday.

The DA’s office said investigators determined 37-year-old Juan “Braulio” Roque De Le Jeuerta, or Juan Roque, was responsible for the death of his 38-year-old wife Kali Roque.

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On March 30, Kali Roque’s sister-in-law, Carrie Cheplic, called 911 after finding the Roques dead in the guest bedroom of the couple’s home at 4641 Carolina Ave Northeast.

According to the DA’s office, one of the Roques’ two children spent the night before at Cheplic’s house.

After Kali Roque failed to respond to several text messages that morning, Cheplic brought her niece home.

After there was no answer at the Roques’ door, Cheplic let herself in and disarmed the home security system.

First, Cheplic found the younger child asleep and changed their diaper.

Then, she found the couple both dead in the house guest bedroom with “apparent” gunshot injures, the DA’s office said.

When Marion County Sheriff’s deputies responded to Cheplic’s 911 call, they checked the home and confirmed all doors and windows had been locked and secure, nor were there any signs of forced entry or missing valuables.

In the guest bedroom, Kali Roques’ body lay on the bed, curled in a fetal position. She had been shot in the head and the bullet was later removed from the foam mattress beneath her.

Juan Roque’s body lay nearby, a Taurus handgun near his right hand. He had also been shot in the head. Investigators found bullet damage to the wall near his head, but no bullet was found.

The gun held 11 of 13 maximum cartridges and two empty casings were found at the scene.

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Detectives interviewed a friend of Juan Roque who claimed to have spoken with him the day before his death. During that conversation, Juan Roque had said Kali Roque was going through a lot since the death of her mother, that their marriage was ending and that he (Juan Roque) had been struggling with his mental health.

Juan Roque said he had called a mental health help line who encouraged Juan Roque to entrust his firearms with a friend. While doing so, the friend asked Juan Roque about a specific Taurus handgun that he knew Juan Roque had from times they had been shooting together. Juan Roque told his friend that he’d sold the Taurus to purchase a Glock 19 and no longer had it.

At Juan Roque’s death, the Taurus was still legally registered to him.

Investigators said they did not find any information linking Kali Roque’s death to the death of her mother, Theresa Hethorn.

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Heathorn is the murder victim in Polk County Circuit Court Case 23CR17443. The defendant in that case is Kali Roque’s brother, Robin Avery Hethorn.

The DA’s office said any allegation that the deaths were connected is unsubstantiated in the investigation.

The Roque children are together with family.