PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Portland, Oregon, man accused of killing two strangers who disappeared 20 years apart pleaded not guilty Thursday to murder charges after authorities investigating the earlier case said they found dismembered human remains of another man in the suspect’s shed.
Police arrested Christopher Lovrien, 53, in May after forensic genealogy linked him to the 1999 disappearance — and presumed death — of Mark Dribin, an airline cargo worker. Authorities searching Lovrien’s home said they found the dismembered remains of another man, Kenneth Griffin, who had gone missing three months earlier.
Lovrien was reindicted and charged with two counts of second-degree murder, one count of abuse of a corpse and six counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Investigators believe the two victims were unknown to each other and to Lovrien.
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office asked anyone with information about missing people who had been living under the Interstate 205 bridge in southeast Portland between the summer of 2019 and last May and had contact with Lovrien to contact police.
“I want to acknowledge and thank the detectives of the Portland Police Bureau and the forensic scientists at the Oregon State Police for refusing to give up on cold case homicides,” District Attorney Mike Schmidt said in a statement. “Time will never stand in the way of justice. The families and friends of those murdered never forget – and neither will we.”
Based on evidence found at his house, prosecutors said at a brief court hearing that they believe Lovrien may have killed or attempted to kill additional people, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
Dribin disappeared on July 2, 1999, after he called his employer, United Airlines, and asked for the night off for a personal emergency. Police who went to his home found that his car and other items were missing. Authorities previously said they found genetic material belonging to a then-unknown suspect at Dribin’s home.
The case went cold until 2019, when the DNA was submitted for a forensic genealogy investigation. In April 2020, investigators got a search warrant to secure a sample of Lovrien’s DNA for comparison, according to a timeline provided by prosecutors.
Griffin went missing in February 2020, three months after police first interviewed Lovrien.