By Eric Stevick Herald Writer
ARLINGTON — Detectives have arrested an Arlington-area man for investigation of killing his sister a few hours after their elderly mother’s body was found at the foot of the basement stairs.
The man, 50, apparently was attempting to end his own life by breathing exhaust fumes from his car when a Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy approached him Sunday morning with some questions, according to police reports.
The body of his sister, 53, was found a short time later under a blanket in a field near the man’s home in the 13200 block of 240th Street NE. Deputies believe he hauled the woman’s body there behind a riding lawn mower.
It was the second time sheriff’s deputies had visited the home in a little more than 24 hours. The man had first summoned them about 5:45 a.m. Saturday when he reported finding his mother, 80, dead at the bottom of a staircase leading to the basement.
Her death initially was not believed to be suspicious, but now is being reviewed by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner.
Concerns were raised after the man’s sister did not return from a visit to the home Saturday. The victim’s son became suspicious when he found his mother’s Subaru on the property, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Shari Ireton said.
When he checked inside, he found receipts and other evidence that somebody had withdrawn money from his grandmother’s bank account and apparently had purchased alcohol.
The man was drinking the same brand of booze and offered his nephew conflicting information about his sister’s visit, according to the police report.
A neighbor reported hearing a loud argument on the property Saturday, including a woman’s screaming “Don’t! Don’t!” Deputies also were told that the man was spotted later on a riding lawn mower with a tow strap attached.
Paramedics were summoned to provide medical assistance to the man after he was found in a car, the motor running and a hose carrying exhaust inside, the police report said. After police attempted to question the suspect, a sergeant searched the property and discovered a woman’s body in a field near the house, Ireton said.
Formal identification of the body, as well as cause and manner of death, will be determined by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office, Ireton said.
Major Crimes Unit detectives were called to the scene and, by piecing together evidence and witness statements, developed reason to believe that the suspect is responsible for his sister’s death, Ireton said.
The man had attacked his sister in the past and there had been tension in the family over inheritance, according to the police report.
The man had what appeared to be fresh scratches and cuts. He asked for an attorney and did not provide detectives with a statement. He was booked into Snohomish County Jail early Monday for investigation of second-degree murder. He was being held on $1 million bail Monday afternoon but had not been formally charged.
Scott North contributed to this report.
Eric Stevick, 425-339-3446; firstname.lastname@example.org.