Missing Everett woman’s car found in Gold Bar with human remains inside

GOLD BAR — Sherry Harlan’s burned-out Nissan Sentra was found last night at a gravel pit, and partial human remains were discovered inside the vehicle, a Snohomish County deputy prosecutor said during a court hearing this afternoon.

Detectives now are investigating a confirmed homicide, deputy prosecutor Craig Matheson said. The remains haven’t conclusively been identified as Harlan’s, but forensic tests are planned by the medical examiner. Results could take up to a week, Matheson said.

Harlan’s ex-boyfriend Eric Christensen was ordered held on $2 million bail this afternoon. Matheson said Christensen, 40, has extensive criminal history, including convictions for assault and sexual abuse. A murder conviction for Christensen could be a third strike in the state’s persistent offender law and could send him to prison for life, Matheson said.

Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives say a bloody shoe print on a T-shirt inside Harlan’s Everett apartment links Christensen to her disappearance and presumed killing, a police affidavit said.

The print from blood on a shoe with a zig zag-pattern sole was found as investigators combed Harlan’s rental unit Wednesday for clues after she’d been reported missing.

Despite someone’s apparent effort to clean the apartment with bleach and remove about 18 square feet of carpet, the detectives found blood in numerous locations. There also were cuts through a futon mattress and others signs of a violent struggle.

Later, when detectives searched an apartment near Gold Bar where Christensen lives, they found a pair of red-and-black basketball shoes with a sole pattern that matches the bloody shoe print, according a police report.

They also found a pair of blood-soaked jeans. Somebody appears to have tried to clean the pants using bleach.

Detectives used these findings and other evidence to ask a judge to jail the ex-boyfriend for investigation of second-degree murder. He is a convicted felon and Level-1 sex offender.

Police on Thursday put Christensen in the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of failing to register as a sex offender.

Christensen told police he hasn’t seen her, her car or her dog, Roscoe, since the former couple fought on Saturday.

Phone records showed the last time Harlan took a call was early Saturday. The call came from her ex-boyfriend’s phone.

Friends, neighbors and Harlan’s co-workers at JC Penney in Lynnwood all became concerned when the 35-year-old didn’t show up for shifts since New Year’s Day.

Police were called Tuesday night, and by Wednesday detectives called Harlan’s disappearance suspicious.

Christensen had helped Harlan move into the apartment just after Christmas, a friend told police.

A neighbor told detectives that Harlan said the man had “beat her to a bloody pulp” in the past. Harlan was afraid to break up with the man, fearing he’d kill her, police said.

Neighbors reported hearing a loud and violent confrontation between a man and a woman Saturday in Harlan’s apartment. Witnesses saw someone matching the ex-boyfriend’s description at the apartment.

That was four days before Harlan was reported missing. One neighbor reported seeing Christensen the day of the argument huddled down next to Harlan’s car. Roscoe, the dog, was inside.

The neighbor asked where Harlan was. Christensen said he didn’t know, but said it was her dog in the car.

When police caught up with Christensen on Wednesday, they noticed he had numerous wounds that appeared to have come from a fight. He told detectives that after he left Harlan’s apartment, he’d been jumped by “Mexicans.”

On Tuesday, four days after Harland disappeared, a witness in Gold Bar said he saw the man with Harlan’s dog.

Christensen said that Harlan “didn’t need the dog anymore,” detectives wrote in their report.

Detectives haven’t found the dog.

Talk to us

More in Local News

This photo provided by OceanGate Expeditions shows a submersible vessel named Titan used to visit the wreckage site of the Titanic. In a race against the clock on the high seas, an expanding international armada of ships and airplanes searched Tuesday, June 20, 2023, for the submersible that vanished in the North Atlantic while taking five people down to the wreck of the Titanic. (OceanGate Expeditions via AP)
A new movie based on OceanGate’s Titan submersible tragedy is in the works: ‘Salvaged’

MindRiot announced the film, a fictional project titled “Salvaged,” on Friday.

Craig Hess (Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office)
Sultan’s new police chief has 22 years in law enforcement

Craig Hess was sworn in Sep. 14. The Long Island-born cop was a first-responder on 9/11. He also served as Gold Bar police chief.

Cars move across Edgewater Bridge toward Everett on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, in Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edgewater Bridge redo linking Everett, Mukilteo delayed until mid-2024

The project, now with an estimated cost of $27 million, will detour West Mukilteo Boulevard foot and car traffic for a year.

Lynn Deeken, the Dean of Arts, Learning Resources & Pathways at EvCC, addresses a large gathering during the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new Cascade Learning Center on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New EvCC learning resource center opens to students, public

Planners of the Everett Community College building hope it will encourage students to use on-campus tutoring resources.

Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman announces his retirement after 31 years of service at the Everett City Council meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett police chief to retire at the end of October

Chief Dan Templeman announced his retirement at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. He has been chief for nine years.

Boeing employees watch the KC-46 Pegasus delivery event  from the air stairs at Boeing on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Boeing’s iconic Everett factory tour to resume in October

After a three-year hiatus, tours of the Boeing Company’s enormous jet assembly plant are back at Paine Field.

A memorial for a 15-year-old shot and killed last week is set up at a bus stop along Harrison Road on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Teen boy identified in fatal shooting at Everett bus stop

Bryan Tamayo-Franco, 15, was shot at a Hardeson Road bus stop earlier this month. Police arrested two suspects.

Woman killed in crash on Highway 99 in Lynnwood

Police closed off Highway 99 between 188th Street SW and 196th Street SW while they investigated.

Mike Bredstrand, who is trying to get back his job with Lake Stevens Public Works, stands in front of the department’s building on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Bredstrand believes his firing in July was an unwarranted act of revenge by the city. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lake Stevens worker was fired after getting court order against boss

The city has reportedly spent nearly $60,000 on attorney and arbitration fees related to Mike Bredstrand, who wants his job back.

Most Read