Rockland Stephens, left, is pictured next to a photo of his son,
Shane, that was provided by the St. Helens School District.
What a Another Family Court disaster shame!
FORT STEVENS STATE PARK, Ore. - Clatsop County officials are investigating an apparent murder-suicide involving a Portland man and his 10-year-old son.
Officials with the Clatsop County District Attorney's Office said their bodies were found inside the father's van at Fort Stevens State Park near Astoria Tuesday afternoon.
Investigators say the father, 49-year-old Rockland Stephens, ran a hose from the tail pipe into the cab of the vehicle. They said the man and boy both likely died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The deaths reportedly come shortly after events connected to a child custody battle.
Police say Stephens had his son, Shane, for the weekend and was supposed to return the boy to his mother's house in St. Helens but never showed up.
According to Mike Stein, manager of Fort Stevens State Park, Stephens only registered to stay for a couple of nights at the campground. Park officials became concerned after his van remained at the site past the departure date - with the campers nowhere in sight, Stein said.
Park officials called police to check on the welfare of the campers Tuesday, and Warrenton police broke into the van only to find the bodies of the pair.
KATU News has learned the child's mother, Shannon Davis, obtained a restraining order on Jan. 17 citing concerns about Stephens' conduct.
During a Jan. 22 hearing, Davis told Columbia County Judge Steve Reed that Stephens had threatened to kill her, an allegation Stephens denied in court, according to a recording of the hearing.
Davis also accused Stephens of fleeing to Fiji with another child, who is now an adult, in order to prevent her from having custody.
The judge told them it was a classic "he said, she said" but that the alleged threats were very serious, the recording showed.
Despite that, Reed increased the amount of visitation granted to Stephens, allowing alternate weekend visitations. When Davis said she was concerned he might take off with the child, the judge told her the FBI would track him down, the recording revealed.
An investigation into the deaths is continuing.
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