Persistent rain is not the only weather surprise that comes with Oregon’s fall weather: crisp mornings accompanied by fog are increasingly common as the weather gets colder. These foggy mornings give the campus eerie Spooky Season vibes, making it even more difficult than usual to see through the masses of trees on the walk to morning classes.
For Trevor Willis ’23, interviewed on the way to his 9:10 a.m. class, Introduction to Sociology, the fog is an exciting addition to the changing fall weather.
“I couldn’t help but think that if you killed someone, this would be the perfect weather to bury the body in— no one would be able to see you,” Willis said. “Not that I’m thinking about that or anything. Of course not.” After a moment, he added, “No, definitely not.”
Late in the morning of Oct. 23, the body of an undergraduate student was discovered in the woods behind the Frank Manor House. It had been an especially foggy morning. The cause of death is still unknown, but the body, later identified as Freddie Rainier ’22, was buried under several layers of dirt and compost. The time of death was determined to be earlier in the morning in Oct. 23. Shoeprints in the dirt leading away from the body were of no help in identifying a suspect, as they were determined to be size 9 Dr. Martens.
Research into Rainier’s social circles revealed that he and Willis were both enrolled in 9:10 a.m. Introduction to Sociology. Fellow classmates reported that Willis had expressed contempt for Rainier earlier in the week, frustrated with him for constantly sniffling during the hour-long midterm without getting up to blow his nose. Crimson McMurphy ’23, a close friend of Willis’, described the victim further as “that one kid in your SOAN discussion who never shuts up about their personal stories.”
During the early afternoon of Oct. 23, while eating lunch at the Trail Room, friends of Willis’ reported that he seemed out of breath.
“It was as though he’d just come from a cardio workout,” McMurphy said. “He kept complaining about how hard it was to drag something heavy across such a hilly campus. I assumed he’d just picked up a big package or something.”
Additionally, a student who wished to remain anonymous reported that several hours before Rainier was found, they witnessed Willis wandering around the secluded trails on campus, feeling the ground to test for the softness of the dirt and inquiring at the College Outdoors office about borrowing a shovel. When confronted by the anonymous source, Willis simply brushed it off as a gardening project. Willis did not have an alibi for his whereabouts the morning that Rainier was discovered: nobody could back up his claim when he said that he was “heading to the Bon for breakfast at, like, 9:45 a.m.” Notably, the Bon closes for breakfast at 9:30 a.m. Neither Willis nor Rainier had shown up for their 9:10 a.m. class that morning.
Willis has since been taken into police custody. He could not be reached for further comment by the time of print. However, upon being granted access to his police statement, all he wrote was, “It looked straight out of a horror movie. I couldn’t just not bury a body.”