Just before he left for work on April 30, Lauren Lundblad, a 32-year-old senior in biology at Portland State, was playing World of Warcraft with his fiancee and friends. Afterward, he said goodbye to his fiancee, and, like any other day, jumped on his bike and rode to work. What happened after that is unknown.
Just before he left for work on April 30, Lauren Lundblad, a 32-year-old senior in biology at Portland State, was playing World of Warcraft with his fiancee and friends. Afterward, he said goodbye to his fiancee, and, like any other day, jumped on his bike and rode to work.
What happened after that is unknown.
A month later, on May 26, a fisherman found Lundblad’s body in the Columbia River, miles away from his Southeast Portland home. The state forensic examiner who came to the scene told Robert Lundblad, Lauren’s father, that Lauren’s body had probably been in the Columbia River, near St. John’s in Northeast Portland, for about a month.
“The night he had disappeared was his last night on earth,” Robert said.
Lauren, who was two weeks away from graduating, was reported missing only days after he didn’t return home in late April.
“Everything went blank,” Robert said after the body was found. “Either he was gone or he really wanted to hide.”
Lauren had attended PSU for close to four years, taking a few classes each term while working full-time. Before PSU, Lauren had attended Mt. Hood Community College while still working at Rose Villa Retirement Community in the medical clinic.
In his youth and as an adult, Lauren was said to be quiet but very intelligent.
“He was one of those guys who could get A’s in everything,” Robert said about his son. “Very bright.”
Before his death, Lauren had just begun to discover things about life that he truly enjoyed, Robert said. A month before Lauren went missing, Robert came to Portland to celebrate his son’s birthday.
Lauren barbecued sausages and vegetables–at the time, grilling was his newest and favorite hobby.
“I think he was just kind of starting to discover there were things he really enjoyed,” Robert said. “His life was finally coming into focus. And then, it’s gone.”
March 24, Lauren’s birthday, was the last day that Robert saw his son.
Lauren first met his fiancee, Dorina Boulter, at work, and a co-worker set the couple up on a date. They hit it off–a positive step for Lauren, Robert said, because Lauren had been having some difficulty finding his place in life.
“He kind of found his own,” Robert said. “He found a nice work setting where he was appreciated and a person he cared about.”
Lauren, who was named after his grandfather, loved the independent and local atmosphere of Portland, Robert said. He would spend time in local coffee shops, where he played games with his fiance.
Robert said Lauren saw himself as the typical Portlander.
As a full-time nontraditional student who also worked, Robert said, Lauren didn’t meet many people on the PSU campus.
“He didn’t like being in crowds,” Robert said. “He liked more freedom to move.”
Lauren loved camping and nature, his father said.
“He always enjoyed the idea of being outside,” Robert said. “It gave him emotional space.”
A fan of science fiction, Lauren spent time playing games such as World of Warcraft with friends. Robert said Lauren was also fascinated with technology.
“He really was kind of a tech guy way at the beginning,” Robert said.
Lauren’s death is not the first tragedy Robert’s family has suffered. In 2002, Robert’s other son, Peter, died in a car accident at the age of 19. Just outside of Salem where Peter lived and attended Willamette University, Peter’s car was hit while passing another car in a no-passing zone.
Robert has two other children besides Lauren and Peter. Ran Dyson, 29, has a family in Southeast Portland. Britta Morejohn, 26, has a family in Davis, Calif.
Robert went to college at the University of California, Davis in the 1960s and 1970s. He received a post-baccalaureate degree in forestry soon after, and worked for the state of Oregon until 2002.
In 2002, he received his doctorate in psychology, and he has worked as a licensed psychologist since.
Robert said his family was very close when all of the children were young.
“We all went everywhere together,” Robert said. “As time goes on, you get a little more distance from your siblings.”
The bike that Lauren was riding before he disappeared has not yet been found. The Oregon forensic examiner was originally investigating the drowning as a crime, Robert said, but no evidence seemed to show that it was. Robert said that there was no indication Lauren’s death was by suicide.
Family and close friends gathered to bury Lauren in Silverton, Ore. at Miller Cemetery on Sunday.