Police look for answers in stabbings

MEDFORD — Investigators continue to examine evidence and conduct interviews as they work to understand a double stabbing at Rogue Valley Manor Sunday night that left a retired grocer hospitalized and his wife dead.

Raymond Nidiffer, 79, and his wife, Mary June, 80, were found with stab wounds inside their locked, first-floor apartment in the Manor's original building around 11:15 p.m. Sunday. He is the retired owner of Brookings-based C&K Market Inc., a company his son now runs, and his namesake Ray's Food Place stores dot the region.

June Nidiffer died at the apartment, and Ray Nidiffer was rushed to a hospital by ambulance, Medford police said.

He remained in fair condition Tuesday at an undisclosed local hospital. Medford police Lt. Tim Doney declined to say whether detectives had interviewed Nidiffer, who initially was listed in critical condition, or whether officers were posted at the hospital. He said Nidiffer wasn't under arrest.

Doney said the Nidiffers were the only people involved in the stabbing and the only people who really knew what happened there.

"I'm certain there's a lot of conjecture on people's part, but it is still early in the investigation," he said.

Evidence has been sent to the state crime lab for evaluation and interviews are ongoing, Doney said.

Police initially identified the stabbings as a murder and suicide attempt. Doney said the case will be forwarded to the Jackson County District Attorney's Office, and more details will be released, perhaps within a week or so.

He drew a parallel with this case and one in 1996 in which an 87-year-old Medford man shot his 83-year-old wife while she was hospitalized in failing health, then fatally shot himself.

In August 1996 Jack Bickler, former owner of City Center Meat Market and a retired rancher and contractor, shot Eva Bickler, his wife of 60 years, as she lay restrained in her hospital bed, slipping away after breaking her hip and being stricken by infections and other complications, Mail Tribune archives show. The Bicklers' son called it a mercy killing done in a pact made in love.

Doney said he couldn't discuss any information about the Nidiffers' medical histories. Neighbors had reported that June Nidiffer suffered from a chronic neurological disease.

The Rogue Valley Manor issued a memo asking all residents to refrain from talking to the media about the incident.

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