Slain Everett woman, missing husband remembered: ‘You knew they were in love’

EVERETT — Leslie “DeeDee” Pedersen had just found out that come January she would have her first great-grandson.

Pedersen, 69, adored her four grown grandchildren and doted on her young great-granddaughter.

She was “Grammy” to them all.

Over the years, she’d spent hours baking cookies and playing Chutes and Ladders with her grandchildren.

A prolific reader, she often shared with them one of her favorite books, “The Giving Tree,” by Shel Silverstein. She loved the story of the selfless tree and his boy.

And Grammy’s house was always the place to watch the magical world of Oz unfold.

“They must have watched ‘The Wizard of Oz’ with her a hundred times,” Pedersen’s youngest daughter, Susan Ellis said on Friday.

Pedersen’s family and friends are holding tight to their memories these days.

DeeDee Pedersen was fatally stabbed late last month. She was found Sept. 28 at the home she shared with her husband, Red Pedersen, a former U.S. Marine.

David “Red” Pedersen, 56, hasn’t been heard from or seen since Sept. 26. Police announced Friday afternoon that Pedersen’s missing Jeep was discovered earlier in the day. The Jeep was abandoned in a remote location in Linn County, Ore. Authorities declined to provide any additional details about the discovery.

Detectives have named Red Pedersen’s estranged son, David “Joseph” Pedersen, 31, and the Oregon man’s girlfriend Holly Grigsby, 24, as suspects in the homicide and disappearance. The pair, who have ties to white supremacist groups and lengthy criminal rap sheets, also are suspects in the slaying of Oregon teenager, Cody Myers.

Detectives believe the suspects crossed paths with Myers, 19, in Oregon after fleeing from the homicide in Everett.

Myers had planned a trip to the Oregon coast for a music festival. His body was discovered Tuesday in a wooded area. He’d been shot in the head and chest.

A California Highway Patrol officer spotted the suspects Wednesday driving Myers’ car north of Sacramento. Officers discovered three loaded guns in the car, including a .22-caliber handgun at Grigsby’s feet.

The captured fugitives were arraigned Friday in California on several charges. They were being held on $1 million bail and are expected in court Tuesday for an extradition hearing.

No charges have been filed in Snohomish County. It’s unclear when the suspects will be returned to Washington.

DeeDee Pedersen’s daughters on Friday said her family knew little about Red Pedersen’s son. Joey Pedersen’s spent most of his adult life locked behind bars. He was released from his latest stint in an Oregon prison on May 24, 2011 and remained on federal probation.

A couple months after his release, for the first time in more than a decade, he visited Red Pedersen. DeeDee Pedersen’s daughters met him and Grigsby for the first time the weekend before the homicide.

“We had absolutely nothing to do with these people,” Ellis said. “Red had wanted to reconnect, but they didn’t know him.”

“I think he was trying to get to know him,” said Lori Nemitz, DeeDee Pedersen’s eldest daughter.

Nemitz, 48, was the one who found her mom. She drove over to the Pedersens’ house after her sister said she couldn’t reach their mom. DeeDee Pedersen and her daughters spoke on the phone almost daily.

“She would have answered if she could have because she’d have wanted to know why I was calling before noon,” Ellis said.

She last spoke with her mom on Sept. 26. Ellis, 45, hadn’t been feeling well the day before. Her mom was checking on her. She also inquired about Ellis’ daughter’s ultrasound. That’s when she learned her granddaughter was expecting a boy.

The daughters say that the family was close. Red and DeeDee Pedersen, married about 10 years, loved to host family gatherings. There were dinners and game nights. The Pedersens had just moved to Everett about a month ago. DeeDee Pedersen grew up in Everett and raised her children there.

The family was excited that everyone was going to be closer. That meant more drop-in visits and laughs over a game of Apples to Apples, DeeDee Pedersen’s latest favorite.

Red Pedersen loved to spoil his wife, family and friends said. Knowing she was an avid reader, he gave her a Kindle e-reader for her birthday last month. One year, he treated her to a spa day. He also was the one who insisted on no calls before noon. He wanted his wife to enjoy retirement.

“They were like newlyweds. You knew they were in love,” longtime family friend Stacey Councilman said.

Red Pedersen loved his family, friends and the Marine Corps, his best friend Vincent Hennick wrote in a statement.

“If by choice (the suspects) do not confess where Red is, I want my brother to know that I will not leave a fallen comrade. I will find him. I will bring him home,” Hennick wrote.

“Whatever the outcome, we just want (Red) back,” Nemitz said Friday morning.

DeeDee Pedersen’s daughters said they also are thinking about Cody Myers’ family.

“I am heartbroken and I am beyond heartbroken for them,” Nemitz said.

Their grief also is flooded with unanswered questions.

Who would kill somebody as good as DeeDee Pedersen?

“It’s completely senseless. You can’t wrap your mind around it,” Ellis said. “There are no ruby slippers to bring her home. I want the ruby slippers.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

Memorial fund established

Friends of Red and DeeDee Pedersen have set up a memorial fund. Contributions can be made at any branch of Bank of America to the “Red and DeeDee Pedersen Charitable Fund.”

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