Colleagues of a Bellevue woman whose van was found abandoned on a state ferry two weeks ago say they've received an e-mail from her husband saying Lynn Stafford-Yilmaz "decided to end her life."
Colleagues of a Bellevue woman whose van was found abandoned on a state ferry two weeks ago say they’ve received an e-mail from her husband saying Lynn Stafford-Yilmaz “decided to end her life.”
Bob Adams, a spokesman for Bellevue Community College, where Stafford-Yilmaz has taught English as a Second Language, confirmed Tuesday that faculty members had received the messages from Mustafa Yilmaz.
“People here are very sad about it,” Adams said. “You can’t really call it anything but a tragedy.”
Adams said a scholarship in Stafford-Yilmaz’s honor is being established through the Bellevue Community College Foundation.
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A van belonging to Stafford-Yilmaz, 45, was found aboard the ferry Puyallup on Jan. 13 after the 10:55 p.m. sailing from Seattle to Bainbridge Island, and some of her belongings were found on an upper deck.
A Coast Guard search turned up no sign of Stafford-Yilmaz. The State Patrol asked for the public’s help in locating the missing woman.
A longtime colleague of Stafford-Yilmaz, who asked not to be identified, forwarded to The Seattle Times an e-mail from Mustafa Yilmaz, in which Yilmaz wrote, “Considering the situation, the note she left behind and the evidence, her family believes that Lynn decided to end her life that night. This was very unexpected for all of us.”
The e-mail said the family is planning a memorial event to be held next month.
Mustafa Yilmaz declined Tuesday to discuss his letter to his wife’s friends and co-workers, saying he considers it a private matter.
Bernice Ege-Zavala, director of the School of Teaching ESL in North Seattle, where Stafford-Yilmaz taught a course each fall, said “Lynn is going to be greatly missed and I’m just very sad, sad that none of us knew any turmoil that she might have been in.”
State Patrol Detective Dave Killeen said his agency is still treating the matter as an open missing-person case. He acknowledged a note was found, but without discussing its contents said, “We don’t necessarily think it was a suicide note.”
Jack Broom: 206-464-2222 or email@example.com