Snohomish County detectives investigating the presumed murders of a missing Arlington couple searched several properties in Ellensburg on Wednesday, including the home of one of two fugitive brothers.
Detectives investigating the presumed killings of a missing Arlington couple searched several properties in Ellensburg, including the home of one of two fugitive brothers wanted in connection with the deaths.
Working with Ellensburg police, Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives Wednesday searched the home of the brothers’ parents in the 600 block of East Tacoma Avenue, as well as two storage units and the residence of Tony C. Reed.
Reed, 49, and his brother, John B. Reed, 53, have each been charged with two counts of murder for the presumed slayings of Patrick Shunn, 45, and Monique Patenaude, 46.
The Sheriff’s Office did not indicate what was found during the searches.
“I know they did get evidence, because they’ve logged it in,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Shari Ireton said Thursday. “But I don’t know what it is.”
Investigators had not filed records with the court describing evidence collected in Ellensburg as of the close of business Thursday, a records officer said.
Marsha Bond, who lives about a half-block from the parents’ home, said Thursday that police were at the property for more than eight hours Wednesday.
“We saw vans and unmarked SUVs parked in front, and police going in and out throughout the day,” Bond said.
Meanwhile, a search near Oso for the bodies of Shunn and Patenaude was expected to resume Thursday afternoon or early Friday, Ireton said.
Shunn and Patenaude, who lived next to John Reed in the Oso area, were reported missing April 12.
Two days later, investigators spotted the couple’s vehicles dumped off a remote embankment about 2 miles north of their home. Blood recovered from the vehicles, as well as dried blood and bloody clothing found on John Reed’s former property, and other evidence allegedly tie the brothers to the slayings.
A neighbor allegedly saw the Reed brothers April 12 accessing a gate on a shared driveway to the Oso properties. The Reeds’ father later told investigators his sons showed up at the parents’ Ellensburg home April 13, and both men left town the next day in their parents’ car.
Charging papers say the brothers drove to Arizona, where two men gave them a different car and $500 cash last weekend. On Monday, a license plate-reading device recorded the Arizona plate of the car about 250 miles away, near the Mexican border, officials have said.
The brothers’ whereabouts remain unknown, but investigators believe they may be trying to flee the country.
Police in Washington and Arizona said Thursday it’s too early to say whether the Reeds’ parents or the two men in Phoenix who allegedly helped the brothers would be prosecuted.
The title to John Reed’s pickup was transferred under his mother’s name April 15, court records say. When investigators came to the parents’ home the next day, John Reed’s father told them he’d recently cleaned his son’s truck, which investigators recovered from the parents’ garage. They allegedly found blood in the truck and a wrapper for a tarp that had been found near the couple’s dumped vehicles.
Each of the Reeds’ parents declined to comment to The Seattle Times this week.
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One of the men in Phoenix appears to be a 49-year-old former Arlington resident with an arrest record dating to the 1980s. The man, who now rents a home on West Caron Street near where the parents’ car was left, also declined to comment this week.
Investigators contend the missing couple had an “ongoing and constant” dispute with John Reed and feared him.
In 2013, Shunn called 911 to report Reed had threatened to shoot the couple after they cut brush next to his property. Charging papers also describe Reed as an aggressive neighbor angered by various people after the deadly landslide next to his property in Oso that killed 43 people in 2014.
County officials acknowledged some details in the charging documents describing an event that may have triggered Reed’s anger toward Patenaude weeks before the couple’s disappearance aren’t completely accurate.
The documents say the county condemned Reed’s property after the slide, and that several weeks before her disappearance, Patenaude had complained Reed had been illegally squatting there. The documents also contend Reed was contacted and “trespassed” from his former property, causing him to become “extremely unhappy.”
But Kent Patton, spokesman for the Snohomish County executive, said this week Reed’s property had not been condemned. Rather, he voluntarily sold it to the county for $245,700 under a flood-mitigation program.
Parks officials also hadn’t “trespassed” Reed, Patton said, noting that under terms of the land sale, Reed understood he no longer was authorized to enter the property.
County parks officials who administer the buyout program were preparing a “right of entry” document to allow Reed to return to get his belongings, but they first wanted to fix a damaged road to the property before granting him access, Patton said.
Reed, who was cooperative during the sale, expressed frustration over that delay, Patton said.
The county has since paid the full purchase amount for Reed’s property to a title company, Patton said; he didn’t know whether the title firm had released any money to Reed. The sale closed March 30.
Asked for specific details about the charging papers’ description of Patenaude’s complaint about squatting, Patton emailed: “We won’t be able to provide the information at this time.”
Ireton said Thursday if any inaccuracies exist in the brief description of that event, they weren’t intentional and may not be crucial to the investigation.