LYNNWOOD — Prosecutors on Wednesday charged a Lynnwood man with second-degree murder in connection with the 2006 slaying of his wife.
Nicole Pietz, 32, was reported missing from the couple’s home along 35th Avenue W. on Jan. 29, 2006.
Her body was found about a week later in a wooded area in Burien. She had been beaten and strangled.
Her death has remained under investigation ever since.
Martin “David” Pietz, 34, was booked into a King County jail on Wednesday morning. Bail was set at $1,000,000. His arraignment was scheduled for April 4.
The arrest came after “a long and thorough investigation,” King County sheriff’s Sgt. Cindi West said Wednesday.
Advancements in technology over the years helped bolster the case, she said.
According to court papers, David Pietz reported his wife missing on a Sunday. He told police he had last seen her about midnight Friday. He said she was asleep at their house when he got home from work, but that she and her vehicle were gone when he woke up about 8:20 a.m.
Nicole Pietz’s body was found Feb. 6, 2006, in a wooded area of south King County.
When she was found, she was wearing a dental retainer that she only wore at night while sleeping, according to a police affidavit. Medical tests showed that she likely died that Friday night.
Nicole Pietz didn’t show up for a Saturday morning meeting or a dinner party with her husband and friends on Saturday night.
Her husband told police he called 911 that night and was told to call back if he didn’t hear from his wife within 24 hours.
Early in the investigation, detectives searched the couple’s home and computers for evidence. They also searched Nicole Pietz’s car after it was found.
After she went missing, friends and family made numerous calls to Nicole Pietz’s cellphone. Detectives pulled telephone records and found a lone voicemail from her husband, asking why she wasn’t at the dinner party.
Investigators say evidence convinced them she already was dead at the time of that call.
The phone records also showed that Nicole Pietz’s cellphone was used to call the Seattle gym where David Pietz worked about 11:50 a.m. Saturday, court records show. The call lasted 21 seconds.
Detectives reviewed surveillance video from the gym. They wrote that David Pietz was gone from his work area for about 10 minutes during the time of the call.
Records showed that the call was made from within the gym or someplace nearby.
Detectives believe David Pietz could have made the call.
About a month after her death, Nicole Pietz’s car was found abandoned near the University of Washington.
Detectives say they found genetic material in the car from both Nicole and David Pietz, but nothing to indicate anyone else had been in the car recently.
Investigators say there was significantly more genetic material from David Pietz in areas of the car that needed to be touched for it to be driven. That included the steering wheel, gear shift knob and windshield wiper knob, according to court papers.
Witnesses since have told detectives that the couple’s marriage was strained. They had financial troubles, and their friends said they believed David Pietz had been cheating.
Computer records showed that David Pietz began seeking phone numbers of other women within weeks of his wife’s death, according to police.
Nicole Pietz’s family found out about the arrest Wednesday morning, said her mother, Gael Schneider.
Schneider’s husband ran into her exercise class to tell her, so she could get back home and hear the news from the detectives herself, she said.
The family is thankful to God, Schneider said.
“It means that justice is working,” she said.
Detectives urge anyone with information about the case to call 206-296-7530.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; firstname.lastname@example.org