EVERETT — A worried wife went looking for her overdue husband Saturday but instead found a tenant cleaning up drops of blood outside the couple’s rental property.
Police later broke into the renter’s apartment to discover a wet floor and the smell of bleach.
Investigators now believe the tenant killed the landlord, whose body hasn’t been found.
The 40-year-old suspect was arrested for investigation of second-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence.
The couple own a commercial property that includes apartments in the 2100 block of Madison Street in southeast Everett.
On Saturday, the landlord went to check on the location but didn’t return to his Mukilteo home by the time his wife expected. Hours later, she decided to visit the complex to look for him. She found his truck and cellphone outside.
While she was there, she reportedly saw the tenant cleaning up blood from the sidewalk. Soon after, he left in a car, she later told police.
Around 4:40 p.m. she called 911. Crying, she told the dispatcher she believed the man had killed her husband, according to a police report filed in Snohomish County Superior Court. The suspect and her husband didn’t get along and they’d recently told the man they wouldn’t renew his lease, she said.
An Everett police officer arrived about 10 minutes later and noticed blood drops near the building entrance and in the street. He knocked on the suspect’s door, heard no response and forced his way inside.
A large puddle on the floor smelled strongly like bleach. The officer also saw what appeared to be wet blood near the front door.
A neighbor reported she’d heard two men arguing and banging sounds coming from the unit. After a while there was silence for about 15 minutes, she said, until the man’s wife showed up, court papers say.
More officers arrived. They checked the building’s dumpster, which also had a strong chemical odor, and found several garbage bags. In one, they discovered shipping materials, cleaning supplies and a large banner. All had stains, but the banner was saturated in blood. It left a puddle in one of the bags, according to the police report.
Deputies from the Washington State Patrol looked through the man’s kitchen and found blood splatters under the cabinets that appeared to be consistent with a homicide, court papers say.
Around 8 p.m., police found the suspect at a Marysville apartment complex, in the 7200 block of 47th Avenue Northeast.
He maintained that he had not argued with or harmed the landlord and didn’t know where he might be.
When detectives pointed out “numerous lies and inconsistencies” in statements the man provided, he “stuck to this version of events and never wavered from it.”
The suspect was booked into the Snohomish County Jail on Sunday. Police believe he could be a flight risk because he has no real connection to the area. He moved here from Chicago and has a girlfriend in Wisconsin, officers noted.
His bail was set at $500,000 on Monday.