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Oregon Penal Chief Dead; Homicide Suspected

United Press International

The director of the Oregon Department of Corrections was found dead early today near his office, and authorities are investigating the case as a homicide.

The body of Michael Francke, 42, was discovered shortly after midnight by a security guard on a routine check at the Corrections Department building, which is located on the grounds of Oregon State Hospital.

A spokesman for Gov. Neil E. Goldschmidt said the body was identified as that of Francke, and state police said there was “evidence of violence in the cause of death.”

Half a Mile From Penitentiary

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Police on the scene appeared to be searching the area between the entrance to the building and the parking lot. The office is about half a mile from Oregon State Penitentiary.

Francke was named director of the state corrections program in May, 1987, by Goldschmidt. Francke was the former head of the New Mexico corrections system from 1983 to January, 1987, and served as a district judge in Santa Fe and Los Alamos, N.M., and as an assistant deputy attorney general.

While in Oregon, Francke was Goldschmidt’s point man in trying to resolve Oregon’s crowded prison problem, which has been blamed for the state’s reputation as a high-crime state.

Francke was born in Kansas City, Mo., was a Navy lieutenant and a graduate of the University of Virginia Law School.

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