Soldier in homicide-suicide deployed twice

SEATTLE — A Washington state man suspected of shooting and killing his wife and himself during a police chase was a combat medic who had twice deployed to Iraq, the Army said Wednesday.

Sgt. David Franklyn Stewart, 38, deployed with the 82nd Airborne Division for three months in 2007 and for about a year from late 2008 to late 2009.

Stewart shot and killed himself Tuesday following a high-speed car chase on Interstate 5 near Olympia. His wife, Kristy Sampels, was also found dead in the car of a gunshot wound, and the Thurston County coroner on Wednesday ruled her death a homicide.

Deputies on Tuesday found the couple’s 5-year-old son, Jordan Stewart, asphyxiated with a plastic bag at their home in Spanaway. He had been dead for at least 24 hours, and his body showed bruises that were possibly from past abuse, Pierce County sheriff’s Detective Ed Troyer said. However, investigators uncovered no prior reports of abuse involving the boy.

Investigators spent Wednesday trying to piece together the gruesome events. They said they believed one of the parents killed the boy but they aren’t certain which one.

Sampels’ 10-year-old daughter was found safe with her biological father in Redmond, Ore.

At the time of his deployments, Stewart was based at Fort Bragg, N.C., with the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division. He transferred to Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle in March 2010.

On Facebook pages that appeared to belong to Stewart and Sampels, they sometimes wrote of the difficulty of being apart during the deployments and excitement at being reunited. The Associated Press could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the pages.

“Little more than 24hrs and im back with my beutiful wife and children,” Stewart wrote on Sampels’ page on Dec. 11, 2009. “Life is great!!”

Sampels also wrote occasionally about suffering from unspecified medical troubles. The Washington State Patrol initially reported that she appeared emaciated and that she had not been shot; the coroner’s office later discovered the bullet hole.

The Facebook page appearing to belong to her said she studied nursing at Central Oregon Community College.

The Army reported that Stewart listed his hometown as Redmond, Ore. He enlisted in the Army in the summer of 2006.

The 10-mile chase began just before 6 a.m. Tuesday when Stewart passed a patrol car. The trooper pursued the car as spike strips were deployed, shredding the car’s tires. The driver sped on, later losing control and colliding with a concrete barrier.

The trooper reported seeing the driver raise a hand to his head, then heard a shot and saw the driver slump over.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

Jayden Hill, 15, an incoming sophomore at Monroe High School is reflected in the screen of a cellphone on Wednesday, July 10, 2024 in Monroe, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Come fall, Monroe students must silence their cellphones in class

Elementary and middle school students won’t be allowed to use phones in schools. High schoolers will have more leeway.

Members of “Everett Deserves a Raise” group turn in their signed patients to the the clerk at City Hall on Thursday, July 11, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett minimum wage initiative submits signatures to get on ballot

Meanwhile, another group is leading a campaign for a similar local measure, but with a few notable differences.

The winner of the 2023 Great Mukilteo Dog Show at Lighthouse Park in Mukilteo. (Photo provided by Kandace Barnes)
All dogs are show dogs at the Great Mukilteo Dog Show on Saturday

The mayor “double dog” dares you to attend. Categories include Best Wiggles and Most Slobbery at the show at Lighthouse Park.

Cane's box combo (Photo provided by Raising Cane’s)
Attention all Caniacs: Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers is headed to Lynnwood

The Southern chain with 750 restaurants is finally coming to Washington, with locations also planned in Renton and Seattle.

State regulators photographed these Allways Roofing employees working on top of a house in Mount Vernon, Wash. without wearing proper fall protection. (Washington State Department of Labor & Industries)
Snohomish roofing firm racks up more safety violations, fined $345K

Allways Roofing has been cited and fined for 124 safety violations in the last 12 years. The owner said he’s been closed since January.

A Ziply Fiber truck is parked outside Darrington Fire District Station 38 during a press conference and groundbreaking for the SR 530 Broadband Project on Wednesday, June 26, 2024, outside Darrington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Broadband coming to these rural Snohomish County locales

The county and Ziply Fiber are again partnering to provide high-speed internet, this time to Verlot and Index.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.