CALDWELL, Idaho (KBOI) — Over six months ago, news of a gruesome triple murder in Caldwell shocked the Treasure Valley.
While time has passed, others aren't letting the memory of the victims — Cheryl Baker, 56; Nadja Medley, 48; and Payton Medley, 14 — fade.
Today, Canyon County's sheriff fears the man he thinks is responsible will never be brought to justice. All evidence might indicate he's dead.
"This isn't a closed case whatsoever," Sheriff Kieran Donahue told KBOI 2News on Thursday. "It's a very open, very active case."
It's an active case that's focused on finding answers.
The scene at the triple homicide, located on KCID Road near Highway 20/26, was so gruesome, the sheriff says it still bothers him today.
"One of the deputies was able to determine ... basically a smell coming from that shed," he said. "Upon further investigation ... we find a horrific crime scene."
Questions on the Case
The first question was, of course, who did it, but Donahue said there's little doubt in his mind that Gerald "Mike" Bullinger, 60, is responsible.
"Our case became very, very solid as to who the No. 1 suspect was," he said. "The only suspect in this case quite frankly."
My belief is that he's probably out there, and that he took his own life.
–Sheriff Kieran Donahue, Canyon County, Idaho
The second question, which has consumed investigators for the past several months, has been his location. Authorities traced his car to the Bridger-Teton National Forest. But the area is so big and remote, the prospect of finding him was nearly impossible.
Things now don't look much better.
"As you come into that fall time, and of course winter time now ... those chances are really remote that a person ... even if they are familiar with the outdoors ... those chances are becoming more and more slim."
It's why the sheriff fears Bullinger may never face his day in court.
"My belief is that he's probably out there, and that he took his own life," Donahue said.
The sheriff said Bullinger could have also been attacked by an animal or died of exposure, too. But he said the chances Bullinger is alive isn't off the table either.
"Is there a possibility that Mr. Bullinger left that car and then deliberately was able to get access to get out of the area, perhaps out of the country?" he said. "All of those possibilities are open, truly they are."
If he did leave, the sheriff said there's no evidence of a co-conspirator. The TSA and the FBI, which are both working on the case, agree.
How to help
The Canyon County Sheriff's Office constantly receives tips on the case and follow each every day.
"I implore people, implore them, not to hold back on information," Donahue said.
Despite all the unanswered questions, one fact remains: that three lives were taken too soon.
"This man has shown a propensity to kill," he said. "Without question, unequivocally. And not just to kill ... but to kill those he allegedly loved. Now that is serious."
Bullinger has two nation-wide warrants for his arrest for the three counts of homicide and failure to report the deaths.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 208-343-COPS.
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