OSO — Patrick Shunn and Monique Patenaude could meet strangers on the street and make friends of them in moments.
Shunn, 45, won people over with his dry wit and practical jokes while Patenaude’s welcoming nature and gourmet cooking were legendary among friends. The couple loved adventures and spent a lot of time outdoors, camping, hiking or tending to their animals. Patenaude, 46, loved her dogs, chickens, ducks, lambs and a rooster named Rachel she would pick up and cuddle.
More than 60 people gathered Thursday afternoon at the Oso Fire Hall to remember the couple.
The husband and wife went missing April 11. Blood and other evidence indicates they were killed, although their bodies have not been found. Police are pursuing fugitive brothers John and Tony Reed, who both have been charged with first-degree murder.
Family and friends at Thursdays’ memorial described a loving pair who embraced others without hesitation and made everyone around them smile.
The killings have rocked the Oso community and devastated Shunn and Patenaude’s families, who came from Oregon and Canada after the couple went missing.
“We’re just doing the best we can,” said Mike Shunn, Patrick’s father. “We want to thank the community. Everyone’s been amazing. The authorities, I don’t know when they sleep.”
Searchers have been tireless and compassionate, he said. Locals have cooked delicious meals for the family and have shared their memories of Shunn and Patenaude.
“We’re strangers, and they’ve put their arms around us and hugged us and cried with us,” Mike Shunn said.
Guests were invited to talk about their favorite stories with Shunn and Patenaude. They stood next to a poster-sized photo of the couple, Shunn’s arms around Patenaude’s shoulders while they stole a kiss in the sunlight. A wooden sign under the photo said, “Pat and Monique. Oso loved.”
Mike and Suzanne Loo were neighbors and close friends with Shunn and Patenaude. Mike Loo met Shunn while they were walking along the road in their neighborhood about four years ago. The two got to talking and learned that they’d both served in Operation Just Cause, the invasion of Panama in the wee hours of Dec. 20, 1989. Mike Loo was a Navy SEAL and Shunn was an Army Ranger. They swapped stories and within 15 minutes, they’d become friends, Loo said.
“We walked dogs together, worked out together, took multiple hikes together,” he said. “We had a lot of plans for the future.”
Patenaude would say the things that were on everyone else’s mind. She was compassionate but fearless, Suzanne Loo said.
When she met Patenaude, “I met a friend who became a sister. There’s a hole in my heart now,” she said.
At his job as an engineer in Kirkland, Shunn would fill his friends’ desk drawers with candy wrappers or send emails with their faces edited onto celebrity bodies. He was vibrant, funny and beloved, coworkers said.
Chuck Trinka worked with Shunn for about seven years and they became good friends. He remembers the first time they met at the office. Trinka had a broken leg and Shunn came up to jokingly tell him, “No one feels sorry for you.”
“I knew then that I’d found someone who could keep up with my sense of sarcasm,” Trinka said. “And meeting Monique for the first time was like meeting a best friend you’d never known before.”
Trinka’s wife, Ivana, immigrated from Canada, just as Patenaude had, and Patenaude offered her a place to stay and emotional support when she was stuck in the lengthy, frustrating immigration process, Ivana Trinka said.
Coworker Cameron Wallace and his wife went on camping trips with Shunn and Patenaude. That’s when Patenaude’s cooking became legend. On one trip to the woods, 25 miles from the nearest town, the group woke to find Patenaude making eggs Benedict on a camp stove. It was one of the best breakfasts Wallace has ever eaten.
Patenaude used to make delicious meals to go with cheap wine when her friends and coworkers in Canada didn’t have much money, said Rachel Strobl, who worked with Patenaude at Community Living Society, an organization that provides services for adults with disabilities.
“There’s just nobody like her,” she said. “No one else who would meet you and five minutes later invite you over and feed you … Monique just made the world a better place and she made me a better person.”
Neither Shunn nor Patenaude’s families thought they would ever find the right person to marry, Mike Shunn said. Then the two met at Burning Man. They came home from the gathering madly in love. That love never dimmed, family and friends said.
After sharing stories, the group held a moment of silence broken by sniffles and sobs. Then they said a prayer.
The brothers suspected of killing the couple remained at large Thursday.
On Wednesday, police searched inside the Ellensburg home of the suspects’ parents. It was inside a garage there Saturday that detectives located a pickup truck with blood on the passenger side floorboard.
Ground search operations to locate Shunn and Patenaude’s bodies resumed Thursday in a 23-square-mile area in a remote and heavily wooded area north of their Oso home.
“Search crews will be reviewing evidence and leads to identify specific areas to concentrate search areas,” sheriff’s office spokeswoman Shari Ireton said.
John Reed had lived on property next to the missing couple and was known to have had disputes with them. He sold the property damaged by the 2014 Oso mudslide to Snohomish County last month, but had been squatting in the home after the sale. The neighbors lived along Whitman Road on the western edge of the mudslide.
When the brothers fled Oso, they crossed the mountains to their parents’ home. They arrived April 13, and left town the next day in a Volkswagen that was recovered in Phoenix. Late last week, they were believed to be driving a 2002 Gold Acura 3.2 TL with Arizona plates. It was spotted near the United States and Mexican border.
Two men in Phoenix told investigators that they’d been contacted Saturday by John Reed, who admitted he was on the run. The men gave the Reeds $500 cash and the keys to the Acura, according to charging papers. The Reeds likely left Phoenix sometime Sunday or early Monday morning.
Working alongside Ellensburg police Wednesday, Snohomish County detectives also searched two storage units and Tony Reed’s home.
Detectives are following up on other leads, as well as evidence found at several locations, Ireton said. Those locations include the victims’ home, the former property belonging to John Reed, the victims’ vehicles and the vehicles the brothers drove.
Both suspects are considered armed and dangerous and have felony records.
Anyone who has information about this investigation should call the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office anonymous tipline at 425-388-3845.
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; email@example.com.