EVERETT — The Daily Herald’s Caleb Hutton has received a first-place C.B. Blethen Memorial Award in Deadline Reporting, for an article on DNA genealogy leading to an arrest in the murder of Jody Loomis.
The winning piece is “DNA on a boot leads to arrest in 1972 murder of Jody Loomis.”
Judges called Hutton’s article a “detailed and poignant story written about the arrest of an accused killer 47 years later.”
“Excellent, dramatic and vital reporting for the community who now may rest easier. Well done,” they continued.
Hutton’s article goes back to Aug. 23, 1972. That day, Loomis, 20, was riding her bike around what is now Mill Creek. She lived on Winesap Road, between Mill Creek and Bothell.
Loomis was last seen alive crossing the Bothell-Everett Highway.
A man and a woman found her nearby later that evening, with a gunshot wound above her right ear. She died on the way to the hospital.
Forty-seven years later, detectives discovered that Terrence Miller was a match to DNA found on Loomis’ boot. He was arrested and charged with the murder in April this year.
Hutton noticed the crime in the Snohomish County jail log soon after, and requested court documents. Officials planned to announce the arrest the next day.
“As soon as that press conference happened we had a story that was pretty involved already,” Hutton said.
“Once that story got out we continued to add to it throughout the day.”
He called Snohomish County sheriff’s detective Jim Scharf, who was home sick. They had worked together before. Scharf decided to take the call and share what he knew.
“No other media was able to get that,” Hutton said. “It kind of goes to show the importance of a local newspaper having and maintaining those relationships with sources who are in the know.”
More sources came forward to provide further details, and the final story was printed within 24 hours.
Last year, Hutton and former Herald reporter Rikki King received the same award for the story “Arrest made in cold case.”
It detailed the arrest of William Earl Talbott II, who has since been found guilty of murdering Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg. The young Canadian couple were killed during a trip to Seattle in 1987.
Talbott also was arrested using DNA genealogy. He was the first person in the country to be convicted using the new technology.
The awards, sponsored by The Seattle Times, recognize talented journalists in the Northwest.
In all, 15 newspapers submitted nearly 200 entries. Journalists outside of the region make up the judging panel. The Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association gives out the awards.
Hutton, 30, is a 2011 graduate of Western Washington University. He worked at The Bellingham Herald before joining The Daily Herald in 2017. Most of his career has been spent as a breaking news reporter.