A Sammamish woman was found dead Wednesday off Orcas Island on a boat where her boyfriend killed himself, San Juan County Prosecutor Randall Gaylord said.
A Sammamish woman found dead Wednesday on a boat off Orcas Island, where her boyfriend killed himself, had been strangled, San Juan County Prosecutor Randall Gaylord said Friday.
Rhan Rha, 39, is believed to have been killed on the boat sometime during the “p.m. hours” on Tuesday before the boat arrived in San Juan County, said Gaylord, who also serves as the county coroner.
Albert Beutler, 39, of Bellevue, shot himself just off Orcas Island on Wednesday afternoon as investigators closed in on his boat, the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office said.
Beutler is believed to have killed Rha, the Sheriff’s Office said.
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The bodies were found in the forward berth of Beutler’s 36-foot powerboat, Moon Angel.
Rha was dead when authorities, who had been looking for the boat based on tips to Bellevue police, boarded the vessel after following it from Friday Harbor into President Channel, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Autopsies on both victims were performed by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office. Rha’s death was ruled a homicide; Beutler’s death a suicide.
The condition of Rha’s body suggested she was killed on the boat, although it isn’t known where the boat was at the time, Randall said.
Beutler, who has worked in the service departments of Seattle-area auto dealerships, has no criminal convictions in Washington court records, which list two speeding tickets.
Seattle Municipal Court records show that Beutler apparently was charged in 1998 with misdemeanor assault in a domestic-violence case. The case, which was listed in a state court database under a different name, was dismissed when court conditions were met.
Rha was a South Korean national. Randall said he notified the South Korean consulate in Seattle of her death and arranged for notification of her mother in Seoul.
Seattle Times researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this story and information from Times archives is included. Steve Miletich: 206-464-3302 or firstname.lastname@example.org