Family of six found dead in Oregon town

Friday, March 15, 2002

Associated Press WriterMcMINNVILLE, Ore. (AP) -- A family of six was found shot to death in an apparent murder-suicide that may have happened nearly three weeks before sheriff's deputies found the bodies, authorities said Friday.

The four children, ages 9 to 15, and their mother were found shot to death in their beds inside the family's rural home Thursday evening, said Yamhill County District Attorney Bradley C. Berry.

The father, Robert Bryant, described as a 37-year-old self-employed landscaper, is believed to have killed all five and then turned the gun on himself, Berry said. He was found dead in the family's living room, also of a shotgun blast.

"It was a horrible sight," Berry said.

The children last attended school on Feb. 22, and the shootings are believed to have occurred the following day, he said. The motive for the killings wasn't known.

Besides Bryant, the victims were identified as his wife, Janet Ellen, 37; and children Clayton, 15, Ethan, 12, Ashley, 10, and Alyssa, 9.

The family had recently moved to Oregon from the Sacramento, Calif., area. Court records show that before they moved, Bryant had filed for bankruptcy.

On Friday, the area was roped off around the Bryants' home on a hillside outside McMinnville, a prosperous town of about 25,250 in the heart of Oregon's wine-growing country.

The home sits on about two acres of a rural subdivision at the foot of Oregon's Coast Range about 20 miles south of Portland. Neighbors told investigators the Bryants had been planning to build a larger house on the site.

Two Yamhill County sheriff's deputies were in the vicinity Thursday night when neighbors approached them to express concern about the family.

The deputies used a ladder to look into a window and spotted the bodies, Berry said.

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