King County sheriff's investigators continue their search for a North Bend man in connection with the shooting deaths of his wife, Lynnettee Keller, and daughter, Kaylene Keller.
King County sheriff’s investigators continue their search for a North Bend man in connection with the shooting deaths of his wife, Lynnettee Keller, and daughter, Kaylene Keller.
Sources close to the investigation identified the 41-year-old mother and 19-year-old daughter this morning.
Sources say there has been no sign of Peter Keller, who detectives are calling a “person of interest” in the deaths of the women.
The two women were found inside their burning home on Sunday morning; they had been shot at close range, said Sheriff Steve Strachan. A pet cat and dog were also found fatally shot inside the home, Strachan added.
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Over the last several hours, investigators have searched an Issaquah home that has some sort of tie to 41-year-old Keller. There was no sign of him there.
Sheriff’s deputies last night tacked up posters on wilderness trails in and around North Bend warning people to be on the lookout for him and that he might be armed. Sheriff’s search-and-rescue crews will be checking local trails as well. Authorities say they have concerns that Keller might be holed up in the woods.
“Keller was an avid hiker and would go off by himself six to eight hours every weekend. He was an avid outdoors person,” Strachan said. “We certainly want to know where he is and what involvement he has… we don’t want to alarm people, but people should know that he’s a person of interest in a double homicide.”
This afternoon, sheriff’s investigators released a photo of Keller’s red pickup with the hope that someone might recognize it having been parked regularly near a particular hiking trail. The truck was found parked in front of the Keller home after the slayings, deputies said.
Keller has no criminal history, and the Sheriff’s Office has no record of domestic violence in the home, said Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Sgt. Cindi West.
Keller has not been seen since the bodies were discovered. His Toyota Corolla was found abandoned near the North Bend Library on Sunday several hours after the fire. Several weapons are missing from the family home, Strachan said.
Shortly before 8:30 a.m. Sunday, neighbors reported seeing smoke coming from the house, in the 47200 block of Southeast 159th Street near Twin Falls State Park, Eastside Fire and Rescue Chief Lee Soptich said. The kitchen was engulfed in flames, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Firefighters had a hard time getting inside the house because the front door was blocked by a couch and other furniture. Investigators initially believed the door had been deliberately barricaded.
However, friends of the two victims have since explained that the furniture was arranged that way. The occupants used a side door to enter and exit the house, West said.
“Friends of the people living in the home say there was a couch and a chair always blocking the door. It does not change the fact that the deaths are suspicious,” West said.
Firefighters found several gas cans scattered throughout the house with varying amounts of gasoline inside them, Soptich said.
West later said seven gas cans had been found.
West said firefighters quickly knocked down the front door and moved the furniture to reach the women, who were taken from the single-story prefabricated house shortly before 9 a.m. Sunday. After efforts to resuscitate them, they were pronounced dead at the scene.
The fire was declared under control at 9:24 a.m.
Cate Reynolds walked to the scene Sunday afternoon with her daughter and others who said they were best friends of the young woman who lived in the house and had recently graduated from high school with her.
“They wanted to just come and be close and process some stuff,” Reynolds said.
Information from Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf, Times archives and The Associated Press is included in this report.
Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @SeattleSullivan.