Dave Lewis Ashland Oregon

Hyatt Lake Oregon Murder of Dave Lewis

David Edwin Lewis. Gone Too Soon




  • 'The most loving man on the mountain'

    David Lewis, who died in a mysterious fire east of Ashland last week, is fondly remembered by family and friends
  • Friends and family of David Edwin Lewis continue to mourn the man they called "the most loving man on the mountain" while they await word on suspicious fires that destroyed his house and one other on Dead Indian Memorial Road Thursday



Friends and family of David Edwin Lewis continue to mourn the man they called "the most loving man on the mountain" while they await word on suspicious fires that destroyed his house and one other on Dead Indian Memorial Road Thursday.
Authorities say it will take days to confirm the identity of the badly burned body found at Lewis' hilltop cabin and collect evidence from home's scorched rubble.
Lewis, 46, had lived at the cabin at 12801 Dead Indian Memorial Road for 23 years and was known for his care for the land and his neighbors, said his ex-wife Josee Fournier, who is the mother of his three sons.
He was the neighbor who would deliver firewood, plow snow from driveways or haul in groceries for anyone who needed help in the winter, said his son, Casey Lewis, 19.
"He did it for everyone he knew," agreed his girlfriend, Mimi Warnecke.
Warnecke lives on the same mountain road, several miles from the cabin Lewis rented. The first half-dozen years she lived there, she knew him only as "the guy in the Jeep" who offered a friendly wave when he went by. One August day two years ago, she was running on area trails and discovered mounds of trash, some bagged and some scattered, left behind after a rave at a remote gravel pit.
She mentioned the trash in passing as she chatted with Lewis on her way home, but didn't give it much more thought. Later in the day, when she returned to the gravel pit and found it spotless, she knew it had to be Lewis' work and stopped by his cabin.
"That was how I met him and why I fell in love with him," she said. "That was the respect he had for the land and for everything.
"He was the kindest and most loving man I have ever known," she said.
Fournier said Lewis passed his abiding love for the land and all wildlife, care for his fellow humans and attention to detail to their sons.
"He taught his boys the simple pleasures," she said.
Casey Lewis fondly recalls fishing trips, weekend dirt-bike excursions, bow hunting, playing basketball and watching sports with his dad and his two brothers, Beau, 21, and Skyler, 12.
"I've been fishing since I was a toddler," Casey Lewis said, recounting how a fat trout in Howard Prairie Lake nearly pulled his tiny self into the water until his dad rushed in to grab boy and pole.
"He was so proud of his sons," Fournier said.
Casey Lewis, who hopes to be a helicopter pilot, had gone to Alaska this month to work on a helicopter ground crew. Skyler celebrated his 12th birthday Tuesday and was starting middle school. Beau works in construction.
"They will be his legacy," Warnecke said.
Most of all, those who loved Lewis want to ensure that he is remembered for more than his sudden, shocking death.
Investigators continue to unravel that mystery. Two fires, at 18196 and 12801 Dead Indian Memorial Road, were reported about an hour apart in the early morning hours Thursday. The unoccupied weekend home and Lewis' cabin each were completely consumed by flames, prompting suspicions of neighbors and authorities alike.
A private memorial service for Lewis is planned by Josee Fournier,  at the summit on Sept. 14, 2008.


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In The Beginning of Murder Unraveling





Jackson County Undersheriff Rod Countryman, center, and sheriff’s deputies investigate a fatal fire off Dead Indian Memorial Road Thursday. The cabin was the second of two that burned in separate fires early that morning on the mountain road.

September 05, 2008

Firefighters discovered a badly burned body in one of two cabins destroyed by separate fires along Dead Indian Memorial Road early Thursday.
Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters called the death and pair of fires suspicious, but he and other investigators remained tight-lipped about the case.
Details about the causes of the fires and the identity of the dead man will take time to confirm, he said.
However, friends and family suspect the victim is David Edwin Lewis, a 46-year-old father of three who lived alone at one of the hilltop cabins lost in the fires. The other was a summer home only occupied on weekends, neighbors and authorities said.
A driver on Dead Indian Memorial Road spotted and reported the first fire near the intersection with Keno Access Road just before 3 a.m., said Gene Davies, chief of the all-volunteer Greensprings Fire and Rescue. A crew of six volunteers found the small, rustic cabin at 18196 Dead Indian Memorial Road engulfed in flames, he said. Oregon Department of Forestry firefighters joined the fight against the flames. Crews used three water tanker trucks and a portable water pond to douse the flames, but the weekend retreat burned to the ground.
At about 4 a.m., 9-1-1 calls from the Ashland Mine Road area reported seeing flames on the hillside across the valley, Jackson County Fire District No. 5 Chief Dan Marshall said. As district trucks headed up from the valley below, crews from the earlier fire roughly five miles down the road spotted the flames shooting into the sky and were the first to arrive at the burning cabin, he said.
"The fire had burned undetected for a long time," Marshall said. "It was on the ground when crews arrived."
Only a concrete chimney protruded from the rubble of the rustic wood home with a loft as investigators worked Thursday morning.
After quelling the flames, which licked to the tops of neighboring trees but didn't spread into the forest, firefighters discovered the body and contacted the sheriff's department, Marshall said.
Winters said the two fires in the rural neighborhood had already garnered his department's attention as suspicious.
The Sheriff's Department, Oregon State Police, the state Fire Marshal's Office and District 5 all had investigators at the scenes of both fires throughout Thursday. Winters said a thorough investigation will take time to uncover exactly what happened.
"These things aren't solved overnight," he said.
He noted that the utter devastation of the burned buildings will make it challenging to find evidence, but the multi-agency team will tackle the job. Until details emerge, the fire and deaths must be considered suspicious, he said.
Jackson County Deputy Medical Examiner Tim Pike said the body was badly burned, but an autopsy to positively identify the victim and look for a cause of death was set tentatively for late Thursday or this morning.
Linda Lewis, David Lewis' sister, anxiously awaited word from authorities. She said her brother, a welder who rented and served as caretaker of the rural property overlooking the Rogue Valley, was a meticulous man who carefully maintained the home's appliances, smoke detectors and wood stove. She said she doubted that the fire was an accident or suicide, especially in light of the other fire nearby.
"It's just too coincidental," she said. "It makes me sad."
She said Lewis was an outspoken man. He'd gone through an acrimonious divorce in 1999,  He had a decades-old felony conviction for growing marijuana, which prevented him from keeping a firearm for protection, she said.
However, she said, he had since gotten his life on track.
He loved politics and almost certainly would have tuned in on television to watch Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin accept the historic nomination as the Republican's first female vice presidential candidate, his sister said.
He was an avid fisherman, nicknamed Fish Hook for his ability to catch a fish wherever he dropped a line, a good cook, and a devoted father, she said."