A body believed to be that of 54-year-old Cheryl DeBoer was found in a wooded area in southeast Mountlake Terrace by a volunteer search party. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center officials said the body of a woman found in a Mountlake Terrace culvert Sunday afternoon has been identified as its missing employee, 54-year-old Cheryl DeBoer.
Police have not confirmed the identity, but at a Monday news conference, Commander Kevin Pickard of the Mountlake Terrace police said the body “matches the description of Cheryl.”
An autopsy was being conducted Monday, Pickard said.
He also asked the public for help in trying to find out what happened to DeBoer, who was reported missing last Monday. Pickard said police hope people will come forward with anything they might have seen or heard from 7 a.m. that day to around 12:30 p.m. Sunday in the area of the 23400 block of 58th Avenue Southwest and the area of 244th Street Southwest and Cedar Way.
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“Any vehicle, people, noises — something — please call us,” Pickard said. The number to call is 425-670-8260.
Han Nachtrieb, vice president of Fred Hutch human resources, released a statement Sunday afternoon noting the body had been identified as DeBoer’s.
“It is with deep regret and sorrow that we’ve recently had confirmation that Cheryl DeBoer, missing since February 8, has been found. Her remains were located this afternoon near the King/Snohomish border,” Nachtrieb wrote. “Cheryl has been in the hearts and minds of her many friends and co-workers, and we are deeply saddened by this tragic news.”
Rhonda Curry, a spokeswoman at the research center, said the statement was issued after a TV station told her it had spoken with the family and received confirmation of the identity.
Searchers had been combing neighborhoods, parks and woods in the area since DeBoer failed to show up at work at Fred Hutchlast Monday.
DeBoer’s husband found her car that day in the 23400 block of 58th Avenue Southwest, just east of the park-and-ride lot near Veterans Memorial Park, an area used for overflow parking for the transit center.
Around 12:30 p.m. Sunday, a group of volunteers found the body in a large, grassy area maintained by the city near 244th Street Southwest and Cedar Way, about a mile and a half southeast of where DeBoer’s vehicle had been located, Pickard said during a Sunday afternoon media briefing.
“They came here just to broaden their search,” Pickard said.
“Our hearts are very heavy right now,” Pickard added.
A woman who answered the phone Sunday at the Mountlake Terrace residence where DeBoer lived with her husband declined to comment.
DeBoer was supposed to meet a friend at the park and ride and carpool to work, police have said.
The friend received a text from her around 7 a.m. last Monday indicating she had left her work ID badge at home, and after fetching it would catch a bus instead, police said. Her husband reported her missing midday after he heard she did not show up for work.
Assistant Police Chief Pete Caw said last week that records show DeBoer didn’t use her ORCA pass for a bus ride that morning, though she could have used cash. There had been no activity on her cellphone or bank account, he said at the time.