The victim's father is certain somebody who attended Kamiakin Junior High in Kirkland with his son in 1983 knows something.
Patrick Cress should be walking into his school reunion this summer ready to swap stories about work, family and what he has been doing in the 20 years since graduating from Juanita High School.
When the class of 1988 gathers in August, many alums will have children the same age that Patrick was when the 13-year-old disappeared on April 30, 1983. Nearly two weeks later, his remains were found in a watery ditch near Totem Lake. His slaying remains unsolved.
Dick Cress, the slain teen’s father, and King County sheriff’s Detective Mike Mellis hope that a chance to reminisce with former classmates about their childhood will encourage people who have remained silent to come forward with things they might know about the case.
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“Somebody definitely knows something,” Cress said Sunday. “I’m hoping that all of those people with children of their own will say, ‘Maybe I should say something.’ “
Dick and Katie Cress worked with police, hired private investigators and begged for somebody to come forward in the months after his son was killed. Dick Cress said he lost jobs, watched his three surviving children suffer emotionally and struggled to pay his bills because he was so overwhelmed with grief.
Cress, now 69 and living in Arlington, said he is certain that somebody who attended Kamiakin Junior High in Kirkland with his son knows something. He’s hopeful that now — on the cusp of celebrating their 20th high-school reunion — the details that his family has been so eager to hear will finally come out.
Patrick spent the night of April 29, 1983, at a friend’s house. The next day, the couple were supposed to meet Patrick at a Safeway store in Juanita because they were unfamiliar with the friend’s neighborhood.
But when Patrick never showed up, the Cresses contacted police. Patrick’s body was found 18 days later by a Puget Sound Power & Light employee near a wooded area where local teens went to party, Mellis said. He had been beaten to death.
In the years since, Cress has become a local expert about the types of trauma endured by crime victims. In 2005, he published a book called “The Value of a Smile: Victimization 101.” Cress said that his wife, Katie, died in April 1993 without ever knowing who killed their son.
“I doubt there is anything out there that resembles justice,” Cress said.
Mellis, the third investigator to be assigned Patrick’s case, said that over the past 10 years his agency has reinterviewed about 50 people who were acquaintances or classmates of Patrick’s. Since reading through the hefty case file, Mellis has pinned his hopes on a note that he believes was written by one of Patrick’s classmates.
The note, which is written in a feminine scrawl, appears to be from “Michelle” to “Kim.” It reads: “It’s a slight possibility the police don’t know yet so don’t tell cause that might be wrong.”
Mellis said that the note was logged into the case file in 1983, but that neither he nor the previous case detectives know the source of the white piece of notebook paper. Mellis said that after Patrick’s disappearance, but before his body had been found, other teens who lived in the neighborhood talked about his being killed.
Mellis said the case has a special meaning to him because he remembers hearing about Patrick’s death when he was growing up nearby. He said the case generated a lot of talk among youths because “there were no murdered kids on the Eastside back then.”
Mellis said that “scientific evidence” collected at the scene was tested in the 1980s but that the results were inconclusive. He said the evidence is being retested because of technological advances, and he is hopeful it will link investigators to a suspect.
Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294