Autopsy shows SE intruder strangled to death; detectives say it was self-defense

Police say the homeowner was defending herself when attacked by a bungling burglar …

By the time we arrived on scene, investigators had cordoned off the scene; journalists were lined up trying to get more information on this unusual case.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
On September 6, a few minutes before 7 p.m., officers were called to do a “premises check” ‚Äì seeing if everything is OK ‚Äì in the 7900 block of SE Alder St.

When the arrived, the cops found the body of 59-year-old Edward Dalton Haffey inside the home. They called in detectives from the Homicide Division to investigate.

Detectives say that the 51-year-old homeowner, nurse Susan Kuhnhausen, returned home from work and found an intruder inside her home. A violent struggle ensued resulting in the death of the intruder, and non-life-threatening injuries to Kuhnhausen.  Kuhnhausen ran to a neighbor’s home and called police. She was transported by ambulance to a local hospital.

A day later, the Multnomah County Medical Examiner performed an autopsy on Haffey. The result: not death from the blows of a hammer, as some media had been reporting, but death by strangulation. The Medical Examiner ruled the death a homicide.

Officer Catherine Kent told us that detectives have determined that Kuhnhausen killed Haffey in self-defense. Investigators now believe that Haffey was in the process of burglarizing the home when Kuhnhausen came home.  Detectives did find property of the victim’s stacked up inside the home.

Detectives do not believe this case will be presented to a Grand Jury; however, investigators and the District Attorney assigned to this investigation are still in the process of reviewing the case.  A final determination will probably be made early next week.

The victim has not made herself available to the media and the 9-1-1 tape will not be available until the final disposition has been reached.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Steve Ober (503) 823-4033 or Detective Rich Austria (503) 823-0449.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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