Police: Federal public defender was murdered

Police: Federal public defender was murdered »Play Video
Photo of Nancy Bergeson provided by Stephen Sady, Chief Deputy Federal Public Defender

PORTLAND, Ore. - A woman found dead in her home was an Oregon assistant federal public defender, police said late Wednesday.

Detectives and crime scene investigators were at the home of 57-year-old Nancy Bergeson in the 4100 block of Southwest Hamilton most of Wednesday and said her death was a homicide.

Bergeson’s boss, Steven Wax, released a statement late Wednesday and said, “Her friends and colleagues are devastated by the loss. Nancy is a wonderful dynamic person and an incredibly spirited human being and a truly exceptional attorney.”

He said she has been with the Public Defender’s office for 18 years.

Police said on Tuesday a neighbor went to check on Bergeson and found her dead.

At first the medical examiner thought it was a normal death but then said the autopsy showed that Bergeson died from “homicidal violence”.

“Detectives right now are trying to determine exactly what happened,” Portland Police Bureau spokeswoman Mary Wheat said. “They’re looking obviously at all evidence, canvassing the neighborhood, talking to neighbors and trying to determine exactly what happened.”

Investigators declined Wednesday to say how Bergeson died.