324: Leonard Opanashuk – Missing Oregon City Schoolgirls

In this episode, retired agent and BAU profiler Leonard Opanashuk reviews his 2002 investigation of the murders of two Oregon City schoolgirls, Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis who, within two months of each other, disappeared under mysterious circumstances on their way to the school bus stop.

A relatively new agent at the time, Len was assigned to the missing schoolgirls case and present when the remains of both girls were discovered buried on a neighbor’s property. Ward Weaver received a sentence of life without parole for sexually assaulting and murdering both girls.

Len served in the FBI for over 22 years.

His first field assignment was to the Portland Division, where he worked violent crime, organized crime, and counterterrorism matters. He was member and Senior Team Leader of the Portland Division Evidence Response Team from 2001 to 2009.

Special Agent (Retired)

Leonard Opanashuk

2/2001 – 6/2023

His next assignment was to the Buffalo Division where he worked on cold case homicides, and as the coordinator of the FBI Buffalo Cold Case Homicide Working Group, partnered with local and state law enforcement agencies, including the area crime labs and the medical examiners’ offices, to obtain resources to address and examined unsolved cases. Len was also a member and Senior Team Leader, of the Buffalo Division Evidence Response Team, and a member of the Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team.

Later in his career, Len was promoted to the FBI’s Critical Incident Response Group, Behavioral Analysis Unit 4 (BAU-4), where he consulted on cases involving serial murder, serial sexual assault, kidnapping, and single homicides involving adult victims.

In 2021, he transferred to BAU-5 where, until he retired from the FBI, he managed the Criminal Investigative Analysis Training Program, the first phase of training for all new BAU profilers.

Currently, Len operates Motives Unlocked, LLC, a behavioral analysis consulting firm.

He consults with law enforcement and private entities to bring his expertise in behavioral analysis to resolve complex cold case investigative problems. Motives Unlocked also consults with media production companies and writers seeking to create authentic FBI plots, scenes, and characters.

The following are links to news articles about the murder of Oregon City Schoolgirls, Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis, and case related photos:

Los Angeles Times – 8/27/2002: Charges Sought in Oregon Killings

KATU Archives VIDEO – 2002: “Two Missing Girls” – The Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis Story

Oregonlive.com – 10/ 6/2002:  Ward Weaver III lived a life of cruelty and rage, reportedly raped son’s fiancée

KATU News – 3/8/2012: 10 years later, woman sheds light on why sister killed by Ward Weaver

People Magazine – 11/26/2018: Inside the Mystery of 2 Oregon Girls Who Vanished on the Way to School

ThoughtCo. – 7/14/2019: Ward Weaver Case: Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis Murders

Click here for a list of other FBI Retired Case File Reviews episodes about child murder investigations.

Miranda Gaddis and Ashley Pond were on their way to their school bus stop when abducted.
When assigned the missing Oregon City schoolgirls case, Len Opanashuk (in raid jacket) had been in the FBI for only a little over a year.
The case strategy was to keep pressure on suspects by maintaining a constant presence in the neighborhood.
Ward Weaver received a sentence of life without parole for sexually assaulting and murdering both girls.
Oregon City demolished the house where the remains of both girls were discovered buried.

























Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 300 episodes available on all popular podcast apps and YouTube.

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