Hair of dead stepmother found on undercarriage of car

Prosecutors say her stepson stole her Honda, ran her over near Marysville and fled police.

EVERETT — Detectives found hair and other evidence on the undercarriage of a car that prosecutors say a Marysville man stole Feb. 14 and used to run over his stepmother, leaving her fatally injured in the street.

The new information is contained in documents filed Friday charging Tyler William Nelson, 31, with second-degree murder and auto theft.

Nelson pleaded not guilty during a brief appearance Monday in Snohomish County Superior Court. He remained jailed, his bail set at $1 million.

The investigation began just after 5 a.m. on Valentine’s Day when Debra Sue Nelson, 53, was found screaming in the roadway near Marysville. She had numerous broken bones and died later at the hospital.

Nelson was tracked down the next day, driving the Honda that his stepmother typically used, according to court papers. He reportedly tried to outrun police and swallowed a baggie of what was believed to be heroin before surrendering, deputy prosecutor Bob Langbehn wrote.

That was the second police chase for Nelson in as many days, the prosecutor said. A few hours before his stepmother was fatally injured, the defendant had been left without wheels after allegedly crashing his own car and abandoning it near I-5. The police were hot on his heels at the time, court papers say.

Nelson allegedly told friends differing stories to explain how his stepmother got injured and why he was driving his parents’ car, according to court papers.

Because he’d apparently ingested drugs before arrest, he was taken to the hospital for medical observation. While there, he allegedly used a derogatory term for his stepmother, and claimed that she “did it to herself.” He also reportedly said he knew what happened, that he wasn’t responsible and that he hadn’t washed the car, Langbehn wrote.

When detectives searched the car for evidence, they found hair that appeared to be Debra Nelson’s embedded in the vehicle’s undercarriage. There were also “linear impressions” on the car’s underside “consistent with someone being underneath the car when it was driving,” the prosecutor wrote.

Nelson has a 2011 conviction for burglary. He also has a dozen misdemeanors for drugs, assault and serious traffic offenses.

Caleb Hutton contributed to this story.

Scott North: 425-339-3431; Twitter: @snorthnews.

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