After a bitter divorce that was finalized in 2008, Kenneth Boonstra seemingly lived a hermitlike existence, becoming increasingly estranged from his family and exhibiting signs of a mental breakdown, according to court records.
Boonstra lived on the outskirts of North Bend in a 23-foot travel trailer, one of three vehicles he received in the divorce settlement.
A North Bend resident photographed the trailer and emailed a copy to The Seattle Times on Thursday. But by Monday, the trailer was gone from the nearly 7-acre property on Moon Valley Road, where garden hoses were rigged to a water pump and an electrical panel was mounted to a wooden beam.
Mail addressed to Boonstra, along with a copy of a warrant served by the King County Sheriff’s Office, was among the sparse belongings left behind.
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Boonstra, 48, was fatally stabbed early May 13 after breaking into a North Bend home for the second time in a 12-hour span.
In the week since Boonstra confronted a young couple and was killed in the ensuing struggle, questions have lingered as to how a man with a minor criminal record suddenly became involved in a violent crime.
Also unknown is exactly what he had planned to do inside the house in the 10100 block of 420th Avenue Southeast.
He first entered through an unlocked door around 1 p.m. on Mother’s Day, assaulted a 26-year-old woman and stole a small amount of money, before returning to the house after 1 a.m. Monday and attacking the couple.
Last week, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office said detectives had found a roll of duct tape inside the residence but weren’t sure if Boonstra brought it with him or found it somewhere in the house. It was sent to the state crime lab for forensic testing, along with a baseball cap that will be DNA-tested to confirm it belonged to Boonstra.
“We’re not going to release any more information until the case is complete,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. Cindi West said Monday. “Even though the suspect is dead, the case is still open and being investigated.”
Boonstra, a father of five, filed for divorce from his wife of 19 years in June 2007. At the time, the family lived in Roy, Pierce County.
Boonstra accused his then-wife of cleaning out two bank accounts, while she accused him of secretly putting money away, according to dissolution paperwork filed in Pierce County Superior Court.
Boonstra, a truck driver who began working for USF Reddaway in 1997, dropped out of high school when he was in the 10th grade, the records show. There is a sophomore photograph of Boonstra in the 1981 edition of the Mount Si High School yearbook.
According to the divorce paperwork, Boonstra’s ex-wife home-schooled their children while Boonstra worked.
“For 19 years, I have had to work 70 hours a week, six days a week, 12-14 hours a day, just to try and make enough money to keep our heads above water,” Boonstra wrote in his dissolution declaration. He said he hadn’t had a vacation in all that time “because of our dreadful financial situation.”
Ordered to pay child and spousal support, Boonstra was given a 1995 Mallard travel trailer, a 1995 Chevrolet S-10 pickup and a 2006 Dodge Magnum as part of the divorce settlement. His ex-wife got a portion of Boonstra’s pension, proceeds from the sale of the family home and a riding lawnmower, the records show.
Pierce County property records show the couple bought the Roy house for $52,500 in August 1999 and it sold in April 2008 for $349,500.
Although Boonstra had a handful of traffic citations and in 1985 was charged with being a minor in possession of alcohol, he otherwise hadn’t been in trouble with the law until last year, when he was arrested on two counts of third-degree theft.
As a result of his arrest in April 2012, Boonstra’s fingerprints were entered into the King County Regional Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), program manager Carol Gillespie said.
Boonstra was identified as the North Bend home invader after investigators with the King County Medical Examiner’s Office took fingerprints from the suspect’s body and sent them to an AFIS examiner, who got a hit, Gillespie said.
Court records show that Boonstra served six days in the Issaquah City Jail and was ordered to complete 24 hours of community service in the two theft cases.
According to Issaquah Municipal Court records, Boonstra twice shoplifted from a 76 gas station in Snoqualmie.
On March 21, 2012, he stole a case of Miller Lite beer and two cans of Copenhagen chewing tobacco, and “walked calmly out of the building,” ignoring a clerk who chased him down and knocked on the driver’s side window of Boonstra’s Magnum.
A witness jotted down his license-plate number and passed it on to police, the records show.
Eight days later, Boonstra returned to the gas station and stole three cans of chewing tobacco, telling the clerk as he walked out that he “needed to get his wallet,” the records say. Boonstra again got into his Magnum “and simply drove away,” according to the court records.
A Snoqualmie police sergeant went to Boonstra’s mother’s house, where his stepfather told the officer the family “had not seen him for quite some time,” the records say.
“He told me that Boonstra lives somewhere on a large section of undeveloped property. He said that Boonstra ‘has dropped out of the world’ and he did not appear surprised to hear that Boonstra was shoplifting,” the sergeant wrote in a report included in the court file.
The stepfather said the family “had no way to contact Boonstra,” the report says.
One of Boonstra’s brothers also talked to the sergeant by phone and said “Kenneth is in the midst of a semi-mental breakdown,” adding that Boonstra did not have a phone “and is usually transient,” according to the report.
“He said that after a bad divorce several years ago, Kenneth began to exhibit signs of a mental breakdown … and had been acting very strange lately,” the report says. The brother “said he seldom sees” Boonstra, but would try to contact him and encourage him to turn himself in, it says.
Boonstra was arrested for the theft during a traffic stop April 10, 2012.
“He said he was sorry for taking the items and said he was having a hard time lately. He told me he had been at the ‘end of his rope’ and did something that was completely out of character for him,” the same sergeant wrote in a subsequent report. “He told me he had every intention of making restitution when he could afford it.”
Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report.
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or firstname.lastname@example.org