NORTH BEND — As her husband struggled with an intruder inside their North Bend home early Monday, a young mother grabbed a knife and fatally stabbed the man, who may have been the same person who had attacked her hours earlier in a home-invasion robbery.
“From what I understand, it was a pretty brutal battle,” said neighbor Steven Vadjinia. “It’s tragic for the person (who died), but it was a fight for their lives.”
The intruder apparently targeted the home shared by three generations of a family at random, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office. No one in the home knew the intruder, she said.
“The whole scenario is terrible,” said sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. Cindi West. “It seems totally random. We don’t see any indication of why this house would’ve been targeted.”
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According to the Sheriff’s Office, the 26-year-old woman, her mother and her 7-month-old daughter were inside the house owned by the woman’s parents when a man in his 40s entered through an unlocked back door a little after 1 p.m. Sunday.
The man punched the younger woman and dragged her by her hair.
“He had a hold of her by her ponytail, so she didn’t get a real good look at him,”
The woman gave the intruder some cash and the man fled, she said.
The woman and her mother called 911, but a sheriff’s K-9 team was unable to track down the intruder, she said.
Then a little after 1 a.m. Monday, deputies responded to another 911 call from the home in the 10100 block of 420th Avenue Southeast after an intruder had been stabbed. He was pronounced dead at the scene, West said.
The couple told deputies they were asleep when they were awakened by their barking dogs, according to West. The husband got up to let the dogs out and encountered the intruder inside the house, she said.
The two men started fighting and the wife jumped in to help, apparently grabbing a knife from kitchen, West said.
The intruder was “stabbed more than once,” but West declined to say how many times and where he was stabbed.
Though the couple didn’t suffer any significant injuries, “I wouldn’t be surprised if they were quite sore,” said West. “It was quite the struggle.”
As of Monday afternoon, sheriff’s detectives still hadn’t identified the suspect and a vehicle connected to him had not been found near the house, she said.
Detectives were also trying to determine how the suspect entered the house early Monday, said West, noting that several screens had been removed from the windows.
Physical evidence, including possible DNA, was collected from the scene after the initial home-invasion robbery on Sunday, said West. That evidence is expected to help detectives confirm whether the robber and the dead man are the same person, she said.
Vadjinia, the neighbor, said he learned of the first home invasion Sunday after returning home from a Mother’s Day celebration. The young woman’s father told Vadjinia’s father “to be vigilant and on guard,” he said.
“It was so brazen and I just had a gut feeling something wasn’t right,” said Vadjinia, a 50-year-old machinist who conducted his own “security patrols” around his property until about 12:30 a.m. Monday.
He woke up around 2 a.m. as sheriff’s deputies were again arriving in the neighborhood, a picturesque part of North Bend known as Circle River because the South and Middle forks of the Snoqualmie River create a half circle around a pocket of single-family houses and a handful of farms.
He said the young couple recently sold their house in Bellevue and had moved in with the wife’s parents as they were transitioning to a new home.
The husband, 29, is a firefighter and CrossFit trainer, and both husband and wife are very fit, Vadjinia said. He said the couple either own or are in the process of opening a gym on the Eastside.
“The guy was either very strong or amped up on something” for him to put up such a strong fight against the couple, he said. “He definitely picked the wrong house.”
Vadjinia said there have been a rash of break-ins and vehicle thefts in the area in the past few months, and he said his own shed was rummaged through. An overgrown trail, used by local horse enthusiasts, winds behind his house and the one next door.
He suspects the robbery suspect used the trail to access his neighbors’ house unseen.
The river is less than a quarter-mile away and Vadjinia said the site where he and his friends used to attend high-school keg parties has recently morphed into a homeless encampment.
West, the sheriff’s spokeswoman, said deputies who work in the North Bend area are aware of the homeless encampment but cautioned against jumping to any conclusions.
“We don’t know if it was someone from that camp or not. We really don’t know if it’s related,” she said.
Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report.
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or firstname.lastname@example.org