A Kelso man whose body was discovered Monday behind his sister's home in the Ostrander area died of blunt-force injuries, and authorities on Tuesday ruled the case a homicide.
Serhiy Anatolievich Ishchenko, 48, was killed by "homicide, caused by multiple blunt-force traumatic injuries" to his head and torso, Cowlitz County Coroner Tim Davidson said.
Authorities refused to release further details about the incident.
"We don't have a motive that we know," said Charlie Rosenzweig, chief criminal deputy for the sheriff's office. "We understand a lot about what happened ... but nothing I'd want to comment on or describe in detail."
Sheriff's detectives continued to collect evidence and interview friends and relatives, who have been cooperative with the investigators, according a sheriff's office press release. Ishchenko is a member of an extended family of four large households from Ukraine. The group includes three sisters and a brother who live in the same rural neighborhood about 6 miles north of downtown Kelso. Because some don't speak English, investigators have needed translators for some interviews, Rosenzweig said.
Deputies came to the home at 140 Home Town Drive on Monday morning after a resident could not find a household member and feared for his safety, the sheriff's office reported. Deputies searched the property and found Ishchenko's body behind the home, which belongs to Ishchenko's sister and her husband, Yelena and Viktor Fedoruk.
Liliya Varyvoda, 19, who described herself as a member of the Fedoruks' extended family, told reporters there was a struggle between two adult male family members Sunday night and that one killed the other.
Rosenzweig said he didn't know of any evidence supporting that account but emphasized the investigation is complex and it's too early to draw conclusions. Six sheriff's personnel are working full time on the case.
"I just want the public to understand we are at the stage where this is pretty typical progress for us in these kinds of homicide investigations," he said Tuesday night.