The Thurston County couple missing from their Lake Forest home since Nov. 10 might have been killed by an acquaintance, who has been arrested on suspicion of murder and kidnapping, police reported late Friday.
Karen A. Koep and her husband Davido were likely killed in their house before their bodies were removed from the property, said Thurston County Sheriff’s spokesperson Lieutenant Mike Brooks.
Investigators continue to search for their whereabouts.
“It’s the highest priority for the department right now,” Brooks told The Olympian Saturday morning.
Police visited the couple’s residence between Long Lake and Marvin Road Monday for a welfare check after Koep did not show up to work. Detectives determined that both Koep and Davido, who has only been identified by his first name, were missing along with their vehicle. The car was later found at 67th Avenue Southeast and Rainier Road, about five miles southwest.
Brooks noted that the route from the house to where the vehicle was found, while not a great distance, requires several turns.
“There’s some weirdness with vehicles being moved around,” he said. “It doesn’t seem like that far, but you probably wouldn’t walk that far.”
On Wednesday, the Sheriff’s Office described the circumstances as “suspicious,” but it wasn’t until Friday that investigators discovered evidence that led them to the suspect.
An Olympia man in his 40s was arrested Friday on suspicion of murder. He was booked into the Thurston County Jail on two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of first-degree kidnapping.
Police believe the man was known to the couple, said Brooks.
Based on evidence gathered at the home and crime lab analysis, he added, the investigators believe they were likely killed there.
“Working with our local, state, and federal partners, we have gathered evidence to identify a suspect in their disappearance,” police wrote in a press release Nov. 17. “Throughout the investigation, we have been in contact with the family of the missing couple, and sadly, we do not believe the couple survived the attack at their residence.”
Brooks noted that the house is located in a fairly dense neighborhood with several hundred homes near Evergreen Elementary School. The couple’s vehicle was also found in a populated area.
He could not provide further detail of the deaths.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information should contact email@example.com or through dispatch by calling 360-704-2740.
A GoFundMe has been set up to support the search effort and the husband’s two adult children.