TUMWATER — Police discovered a 6-year-old boy’s body in a home Tuesday while investigating the death of his parents who were found dead in a car after a high-speed highway chase earlier in the day.
The boy’s 10-year-old sister was later found safe in Redmond, Ore., with her biological father, said Ed Troyer, Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman.
Washington State Patrol troopers said the 38-year-old man in the car was fleeing from a trooper and shot himself in the head after his car spun out on Interstate 5 at Tumwater, about 60 miles south of Seattle.
Troopers also found the body of a 38-year-old woman passenger in the car. The state patrol initially reported the woman appeared sick and emaciated and had not been shot.
Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock later said she had been shot once in the head. It was not clear when she was shot, but Troyer said authorities believe the man shot her.
“It was definitely a recent gunshot wound,” Warnock said. “Was she shot at her residence in Spanaway, or during the chase? That’s something we don’t know.”
The couple’s identity has not been released, because family members haven’t been notified, he said. The couple lived together in Spanaway.
The man is an active soldier at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, base spokeswoman Catherine Caruso said. She also refused to release the name.
The 10-mile chase began just before 6 a.m. when a car going about 85 mph passed a marked patrol car, said Trooper Guy Gill. He pursued the car as spike strips deployed and caused the fleeing car to spin out.
The trooper said he saw the driver raise a hand to his head then heard a shot and saw the driver slump over.
Authorities went to the couple’s Spanaway home to check on the children and discovered the boy.