Loni Kai

Loni Kai (KPTV image)

WASHINGTON COUNTY, OR (KPTV) - A now-retired Washington County sheriff’s detective, Murray Rau, has not forgotten a 17-year-old case. He also has not lost hope that the killer will be found.

On the morning of Aug. 29, 2001, a jogger made the gruesome discovery in a field that’s off Southwest Farmington Road, not far from Southwest Rood Bridge Road.

Investigators say the body of 28-year-old Loni Kai was left there. The transgender woman’s head had been badly beaten.

Saying he’s keeping an open mind about the motive, as well as the moments that led up to the woman’s death, Rau also knows one possible theory is that the killer was upset to find out that Loni was a transgender woman and attacked her.

“No one deserves to have that happen to them, regardless of what their beliefs are,” he said.

Investigators believe she was murdered before the killer, perhaps with the help of another person, left her body at the field behind some bushes.

“If that's truly what happened, then that makes it all the more worse than it already is,” Rau said. The area is about nine miles away from where she was last spotted.

What’s also troubling to Rau about the unsolved case is how there was a small window of time between when Loni was last seen alive and killed.

Detectives know Loni went to a Beaverton 7-Eleven, and even spoke with two Beaverton police officers who saw her walking along Tualatin Valley Highway just hours before the jogger discovered her body.

“It's just such a small window of time, and to not know, have not been able to narrow it down, figure out who was that person who had last had contact with Loni, you know,” Rau said. “There's probably someone out there who has some information, has heard something about this case beyond what's been previously reported.”

If you know something that could help detectives crack the case, contact the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

More information about Loni Kai’s case can be found here.

Copyright 2018 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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