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Former O.C. lawmaker's daughter found slain in Portland

Nancy Bergeson, 57, daughter of former state Sen. Marian Bergeson, was found strangled in her home Tuesday. The younger Bergeson was an assistant federal public defender in Oregon.

November 29, 2009|By Kimi Yoshino

Days after the daughter of longtime Orange County legislator Marian Bergeson was found strangled at her home in Portland, her family and friends are still waiting for answers.

Nancy Bergeson, 57, was found dead in her home Tuesday afternoon. She was a Newport Beach native. Her mother served in the state Assembly and Senate for nearly two decades and as state education secretary in the late 1990s. Although authorities initially believed that Bergeson had died of natural causes, medical examiners later ruled her death a homicide.

"It's such a terrible shock," Marian Bergeson said. "Nancy is bigger than life. She had a great sense of humor. Everybody loved her. She had absolutely no enemies that anybody was aware of."

For the last 18 years, Nancy Bergeson has worked as an assistant federal public defender in the Oregon district.

Police could not be reached for comment Saturday, but detectives had told the Oregonian newspaper that there was no sign of forced entry and the home had not been ransacked. The front door was unlocked, but that may not have been unusual, according to the reports.

Bergeson's body was found by the woman who walks her dog.

Steve Sady, chief deputy federal public defender in Portland and a longtime friend of Bergeson's, said her death leaves a "giant hole" in the office. "She has always been a passionate and outstanding advocate for her clients and the source of energy and fun for her many friends," Sady said. "She will be deeply missed."

kimi.yoshino@latimes.com

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