Slain hikers’ family struggles with emotions

SEATTLE – A week and a day after his wife and daughter were found slain along a popular hiking trail on Mount Pilchuck, David Stodden is wrestling with his emotions.

Yesterday, anger ate at him. But his two surviving daughters, Elisa and Joanna, encouraged him to remember their mother, Mary Cooper, and sister, Susanna Stodden. They asked him to think about the positive impact the pair had on the community and people around them, David Stodden said this afternoon.

“Its not easy. It’s been really difficult,” he told reporters during a meeting in his garden outside his Seattle home.

David Stodden said hes been talking to investigators every day and feels confident in their work. He said he’s received little information on the status of the investigation, but has learned robbery does not appear to have been a motive for whoever killed his wife and daughter.

Cooper, 56, and Susanna Stodden, 27, were found shot to death July 11 along the hiking trail to Pinnacle Lake.

No one has been arrested. Police have declined to say if they have a suspect in the slayings.

The road leading to the trailhead has been closed indefinitely while investigators and search and rescue crews scour the area for evidence. The women were last seen alive at the trailhead about 10 a.m. A hiker told police he discovered the women as he was walking down the trail. He called police from a campground about 2:20 p.m.

Snohomish County sheriff’s investigators said today that they don’t have any new information to provide about the case. Investigators are tracking down more than 100 tips that have been phoned in since the murders.

A total of $6,000 in reward money is being offered by the Mountaineers and Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound for anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for the womens deaths.

Cooper worked as a librarian at Alternative Elementary II in Seattle. Susanna Stodden recently left her job as an outdoor educator at Seattle Audubon.

A memorial walk around Green Lake in Seattle to honor the pair is planned for 9 p.m. Thursday. People will gather at Evans Pool, 7201 E. Green Lake Drive N. Participants should bring their own flashlights.

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