Pendleton Police Chief Stuart Roberts identified the man police are seeking to question about Friday night’s assault of Karen Lange on the Umatilla River walkway.
Danny Woo, 23, is a male transient who has lived in the Pendleton area for approximately one year, according to Roberts. His name is unconfirmed because he doesn’t have valid Oregon identification, but police are certain he is their target.
Lange, 53, went for a walk along the river parkway at 6 p.m. on Friday and was reported missing five hours later. Police found Lange along the Umatilla River levee near Bob White Field at 6:50 a.m. Saturday.
Roberts said she was struck by a blunt object to the back of the head, and was taken to St. Anthony Hospital before an air ambulance transported her to Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.
Roberts said doctors at OHSU said Lange was in critical condition Sunday night, but in much better condition than they thought she would be.
The Oregon State Police Forensic Division is analyzing evidence from the scene of the crime to confirm Woo’s identity and allow police to issue an indictment and warrant.
Roberts said Pendleton police have had 27 contacts with Woo in the past year, typically criminal trespass, drinking on unlicensed premises or failure to appear in municipal court.
Officers scoured the transient population during the weekend. Roberts said many recognized Woo but didn’t know his name.
“Most people who know of him describe him as an absolute loner … (with) typical sociopathic activities,” Roberts said. “He is a transient so he can be anywhere at any time, and nobody knows him. ... (He has) no known residences nor any associates.”
Lange is a Pendleton resident and works for attorney Robert E. Ridgeway. She is married to Dan Lange, the vice president of instruction at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton.
Anyone with information about Woo is encouraged to call the Pendleton Police Department at 541-276-4411.