Neighbors described the victim, ‘Lita’ Byrnes, as a pillar in Wallingford who led by example and built bonds of community through her kindness.
Seattle police early Thursday arrested a 25-year-old man suspected of stabbing his roommate to death inside a Wallingford home last month — a crime that shocked the eclectic neighborhood.
The man was booked into the King County Jail for investigation of homicide, according to the jail registry.
The Seattle Times typically doesn’t name suspects in criminal cases until charges are filed.
The man’s arrest comes more than a month after Lalita Byrnes, known as Lita, was found dead on March 12 inside her home in the 1300 block of North 43rd Street by a friend who went to the residence, police said.
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Her death left those who knew her shocked and saddened; neighbors described Byrnes as a pillar in Wallingford who led by example and built bonds of community through her kindness.
“She was probably the most generous, loving and giving person that I have ever met,” said Elizabeth Jurcik, a Wallingford resident who became a friend after meeting Byrnes at a party.
The suspect, who formerly lived in the Wenatchee area, appeared to have only minor traffic infractions before Thursday’s arrest, according to Washington court records. According to his Facebook page, he attended Eastmont High School in East Wenatchee, and had worked as a supervisor at UPS in Seattle since September 2016.
Police said in a statement posted Thursday the man’s arrest came as part of a “complex case” requiring extensive investigation in conjunction with the Washington State Crime Lab and King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.