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New Details post at 3 p.m. Jan. 20

On Jan.18, Columbia County Sheriff's (CCSO) deputies were dispatched to a welfare check at 34180 Smith Road in rural St. Helens.

Investigation

The death investigation began after deputies were dispatched to a welfare check Jan. 18 at a house on Smith Road.

Investigation Scene

The body of a female was found on this property along Smith Road in rural Columbia County.

According to CCSO, a concerned neighbor called to have the resident checked on after they noticed the front door had been open for several hours.

When deputies arrived on scene, they searched the home and the surrounding property where they located a body that was later identified as the homeowner, Stacey Marie Erpelding, 43, of St. Helens.

Deputies immediately called for medics and began rendering aid. When medics arrived, they advised the female was deceased. The Columbia County Major Crimes Team (MCT) was called to investigate.

On Jan. 19, the Oregon State Police Crime Lab responded to assist the MCT with the investigation.

CCSO has not release specific details of the cause of death. A full investigation is currently underway, according to a release from the sheriff's office.

Follow this developing story here online and in the Wednesday print editions of The Chronicle.

Previous Chronicle coverage posted at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 20

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office has launched a suspicious death investigation following reports of a female body found.

According to Sheriff Brian Pixley, deputies were dispatched to a welfare check Jan. 18 in the 34000 block of Smith Road.

"We located a deceased female on the property," Pixley told The Chronicle. "We are investigating this as a suspicious death."

Additional details of the investigation are pending.

Follow this developing story here online and in the Wednesday print editions of The Chronicle.

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