By Scott North <I>Herald Writer</I>
BOTHELL — The investigation of a Bothell woman’s February killing now appears to focus on a bicycle somebody apparently didn’t want.
Bothell detectives are examining whether the abandoned bicycle, recovered by police March 1, was used by whoever fatally bludgeoned and stabbed Susann Smith inside her home on Feb. 12.
“Your affiant believes that if the bicycle was used as a means of transportation to and from the crime scene, trace evidence may be present on the bicycle,” Bothell detective Michael Stone said in an affidavit filed in support of a Snohomish County Superior Court search warrant.
Police have not named Smith’s estranged husband as a suspect in the killing. However, multiple search warrants filed in the case make clear that investigators are scrutinizing his actions around the time of her death.
That includes what they characterize as a misleading story he told investigators about whether he owned a bicycle.
“The investigation is ongoing,” Bothell police Sgt. Ken Seuberlich said Monday. “We are following up on leads and this is just another lead that we have developed.”
After Smith, 37, was found dead in her home, police questioned the man about his transportation options. He denied owning a bicycle, according to court papers.
A review of the man’s credit card bills, however, showed that in late November he bought a bicycle at a store in Seattle.
Last month, detectives obtained an invoice from the sale. It showed that Smith’s husband had purchased a Trek 7.2 FX Disc bicycle, the search warrant said. A search of the GPS device in the man’s car also placed the vehicle near the bicycle store that same afternoon.
“During searches of Susann Smith’s residence and searches of (the man’s) property, the Trek bicycle was not located,” Stone said in the affidavit. Likewise, nobody who knew the man told investigators about the bike.
On March 1, however, a Bothell man called police about a bicycle he noticed that was left unattended for several days at businesses and apartment complexes around the Canyon Park neighborhood.
Police logged the abandoned bicycle into the Bothell police evidence room.
On April 24, a detective checked serial numbers on the bicycle and confirmed that the Trek 7.2 FX Disc bicycle found in March had the same serial number as the one Smith’s husband bought in November, the affidavit said.
The bicycle was photographed and packaged and sent to King County’s evidence processing laboratory pending court approval to search it for latent prints, DNA and other trace materials.
At the time of the killing, the man had been living at an apartment just under two miles from Susann Smith’s home, the search warrant affidavit said. He’s since moved into the house where she was killed.
Police have distributed fliers in Smith’s neighborhood several times asking for anyone with information to come forward.
Eric Stevick contributed to this report. Scott North: 425-339-3431, firstname.lastname@example.org