Man sought in death of woman who was found beheaded on Camano

Jacob Gonzales, 34, is thought to be armed, dangerous and possibly headed to California.

The Island County Sheriff’s Office is seeking information on the whereabouts of 34-year-old Jacob Gonzales. (Island County Sheriff’s Office)

The Island County Sheriff’s Office is seeking information on the whereabouts of 34-year-old Jacob Gonzales. (Island County Sheriff’s Office)

CAMANO ISLAND — A woman found dead on Camano Island was beheaded, and a person of interest might be on the run to California, according to the Island County Sheriff’s Office.

Katherine Cunningham, 26, was found around 2:30 p.m. Saturday, on undeveloped property off of Tamarack Lane on the south end of the island, according to the sheriff’s office.

Nearby on the vacant lot, deputies uncovered a bunker dug into a hillside. The bunker had been stocked with guns, ammo and supplies. Detectives worked long hours searching for evidence on the land for three days, Sheriff Mark Brown said. The Island County Coroner’s Office performed an autopsy Tuesday, and confirmed Cunningham was a victim of homicidal violence with decapitation. She had been dead for at least several days.

It didn’t appear Cunningham had been reported missing, Brown said.

The sheriff’s office announced Wednesday that they were searching for Jacob Gonzales, 34, who might have fled to central or southern California in a green 1990 Mitsubishi Montero, with Washington license plates AYE2639. He’s 5-foot-9, 150 pounds, with hazel eyes and black hair.

Gonzales had rented a trailer on the Camano Island property, but it’s not clear when he had last been there, the sheriff said. He’s considered armed and dangerous. Detectives were investigating what link Gonzales had to Cunningham.

“We’re working on that,” Brown said. “We’re asking for leads.”

Brown declined to further discuss the bunker or the cache of weapons.

If you know Gonzales’ whereabouts, or any other information that could help solve the case, call 911. Or contact detective Ed Wallace at 360-679-9567 or

Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; Twitter: @snocaleb.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Police respond in downtown Everett after a man collapsed with a gunshot wound Nov. 27, 2021. He later died. (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)
Everett police continue to investigate November killing

Jerome Burnett, 48, died at the hospital. A suspect fled, according to police.

An alleged impaired driver hit and killed two adults Thursday morning at the intersection of 204th Street NE and Highway 9. (Arlington Police Department)
2 pedestrians die after being hit by allegedly impaired driver

The two adults were struck in Arlington around 2:30 a.m. Thursday at an intersection on Highway 9.

Judge: Sex abuse of former Marysville student violated law

A woman sued the district last year, accusing a longtime art teacher of sexual abuse in the 1980s.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Stanwood in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Regulators OK doubling of composting operation in Stanwood

Lenz Enterprises can now handle 150,000 tons a year. Residents worry odors will be a problem.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
Democrats ready to ditch the other ‘grand bargain’ of 2021

Here’s what’s happening on Day 10 of the 2022 session of the Washington Legislature.

Darrell Cain, Pierce College Puyallup president and incoming Everett Community College interim president
Pierce College Puyallup president picked to lead EvCC for now

Everett Community College’s board chose Darrell Cain as its interim president.

Michael Jensen, left, and Nathan Jensen, right, pick up trash in their encampment that they being forced to clear out of by Parks Department the near Silver Lake on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Annual homeless count could shed light on pandemic’s impact

Snohomish County canceled its 2021 point-in-time count. Officials hope this year’s will bring clarity.

Ballots sent for special election on public schools’ funding

Levies to pay for staff, programs, computers and capital projects are on the Feb. 8 ballot across Snohomish County.

Section of a tsunami high ground map. (Island County)
Tsunami warning fizzled, but future threat to Whidbey is real

State and county officials have long warned about the possibility of a tsunami striking the island.

Most Read