John Reed (left) and Tony Reed

John Reed (left) and Tony Reed

1 brother’s charges reduced in Oso murders; parents arrested

EVERETT — The parents of two men implicated in a double murder were arrested Tuesday for investigation of rendering criminal assistance in their sons’ getaway.

Clyde and Faye Reed, 81 and 77, were being transported to the Snohomish County Jail on Tuesday afternoon. Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies and Ellensburg police descended on their Eastern Washington home earlier in the day.

The arrests came just hours before prosecutors filed papers indicating that they will drop first-degree murder charges against the younger Reed brother as a result of evidence developed during the ongoing investigation. Instead, he’ll face two counts of first-degree rendering criminal assistance, a felony under state law.

Detectives have confirmed that the younger Reed brother was gathering agates with friends the day of the killings, and that his older brother drove to Eastern Washington that evening and brought him to Oso, deputy prosecutor Craig Matheson said in court papers.

“Based on this information it is apparent that defendant Tony Clyde Reed was not present when his brother, John Blaine Reed, murdered Patrick Shunn and Monique Patenaude,” Matheson wrote.

Tony Reed told investigators it wasn’t until he got to Oso that he learned of the killings. He described helping his brother bury the bodies and hide the victims’ vehicles. He later helped detectives find the burial site, the prosecutor added.

John Reed is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Shunn, 45 and Patenaude, 46. Shunn was killed by a gunshot wound to the head. Patenaude died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Their bodies were recovered from a grave off North Brooks Creek Road in north Snohomish County. They were last seen alive April 11.

Prosecutors believe John Reed likely killed the couple over a boiling neighborhood feud that seemed to worsen after the 2014 Oso mudslide.

John Reed, 53, remains in hiding. He is wanted on a $5 million arrest warrant and is believed to be in the Tijuana, Rosarita or Ensenada areas of Mexico. The U.S. Marshals Service is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to his capture and arrest.

Tony Reed, 49, turned himself in at the California-Mexico border May 16. He’s being held in the county jail.

After his arrest, Tony Reed cooperated with detectives. He described his brother coming to pick him up in Ellensburg after a day he’d spent rock-hunting.

“According to (Tony) Reed it was upon arrival in the Arlington area that he discovered his brother had murdered two people,” Matheson wrote. “Reed described how he and John hid the vehicles belonging to Patrick and Monique, and how and where the bodies of Patrick and Monique were buried.”

Detectives were able to corroborate Tony Reed’s story about searching for rocks with friends. The information he provided detectives also “allowed for the recovery” of the victims’ bodies on May 25, Matheson wrote.

Early in the investigation, Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives searched several Ellensburg properties, including the home belonging to Clyde and Faye Reed. The brothers visited their parents after the Oso couple vanished and before they headed south to Arizona, California and then Mexico. A vehicle with blood inside was found at the Ellensburg home.

“In previous interviews for the murder investigation, both suspects admitted to detectives that they provided a vehicle to John and his brother, Tony Reed, to flee the area,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Shari Ireton said. “They also admitted to transferring the title from John’s truck, believed to have been used in the murders, to Faye. They also admitted to having provided financial assistance to John and Tony.”

More arrests are possible.

“We absolutely will arrest anyone who has helped a murderer escape justice,” Sheriff Ty Trenary said.

Detectives felt resistance from the Ellensburg couple early on. In an April 22 search warrant, they wrote: “John and Tony’s parents have made it clear that they would not assist law enforcement in apprehending their sons, in fact, they are doing the complete opposite by assisting their sons in avoiding apprehension.”

Ellensburg attorney James Kirkham, who is representing Tony Reed in the case, said police didn’t need to arrest the parents, whom he described as elderly.

“My reaction is it is surprising to say the least,” Kirkham said. “It could have been handled by a summons and a complaint” to appear in court.

Kirkham said it is too soon to know if he also will represent the couple in addition to Tony Reed. His client would have to sign a conflict waiver form for that to happen.

Detectives began to follow the money trail early in the investigation.

Three days after the Oso couple disappeared, John Reed attempted to cash a $96,000 cashier’s check at a bank in Ellensburg. The money came from the recent sale of John Reed’s property that was damaged in the mudslide.

The bank refused to provide him the money in a lump sum. Instead, it wrote four checks for $14,000 each to his relatives and a $40,000 check to John Reed.

Law enforcement was able to get a “stop payment” order placed on the checks and freeze the transactions.

Detectives allege that attempts were made by his family to funnel the money to John Reed.

In a search warrant, detectives said Clyde Reed went to a bank in April and deposited the $40,000 check, which John had signed over to him before fleeing the state.

Detectives said they believed “a diligent search of … bank records will show the various deposits made by John, Clyde and Faye are not the normal course for this family and are indicative of plans … to flee by John or plans to assist John and Tony by their parents Clyde and Faye in their flight from prosecution.”

Faye Reed told a detective that she believed her sons “would make police shoot them” if they were found and “if she contacted her sons first, she would shoot them herself because she wouldn’t want to see them go to prison,” according to a search warrant.

John Reed had been living with his parents in Ellensburg after he was told by authorities to stop squatting on his former Oso property. Clyde Reed said his sons had traveled to Arlington the week the couple were reported to have disappeared. He said they returned in a red pickup truck April 13.

Clyde Reed reportedly told a detective that he cleaned the interior and exterior of the truck April 14 because it was dirty. He denied seeing anything suspicious inside the vehicle.

During the search of the pickup, detectives discovered that the mats were missing.

The father allegedly told the detective he didn’t know where his sons were and wouldn’t help law enforcement even if he knew their whereabouts, according to court records.

Clyde Reed also told detectives that his wife gave her sons money before they left Ellensburg April 14.

Property records show that Clyde and Faye Reed owned the Oso home off Whitman Road until 2003, when the ownership was transferred to John Reed.

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of John Reed should call the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office anonymous tipline at 425-388-3845.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com.

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