Commander Rob Lamoureux speaks about his experience working on Jennifer Brinkman homicide case on Nov. 29, in Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Commander Rob Lamoureux speaks about his experience working on Jennifer Brinkman homicide case on Nov. 29, in Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Suspect in 1998 Marysville homicide cold case released on $250K bond

Four days after his arrest, Jeffrey Premo, 52, was no longer in custody. He remains a suspect in the killing of Jennifer Brinkman, 19.

MARYSVILLE — The suspect in a Marysville cold case homicide spent less than a week in jail before he posted bond and was released from custody Friday.

Jeffrey Premo, 52, of Renton, was arrested Nov. 28 for investigation of first-degree murder in the killing of Jennifer Brinkman more than 20 years ago.

He posted $250,000 bond and was released from jail four days later, around 10:45 p.m. Friday.

On March 21, 1998, Brinkman was found dead in her bedroom in the 1900 block of Grove Street in Marysville. The young woman had suffered ax wounds to her neck and body. Evidence collected at the crime scene suggested there was a struggle before Brinkman was killed, police wrote.

Brinkman, 19, was living with her father at the time. The father and his girlfriend had taken a week-long trip to California. Upon returning home, they discovered Brinkman’s body.

A bloody ax with a wooden handle was near the bed, according to a police report. The father reported he was “certain” the ax was in the garage when he left on his trip.

There was no evidence of forced entry at the crime scene, a police report reads. Evidence suggested Brinkman had likely been dead for several days.

Police collected evidence and canvassed the area. Leads ran cold.

Before her death, Brinkman spent time on telephone dating and internet chat lines. She had been looking for a romantic partner, police said, based on witness statements and journal entries collected from Brinkman’s room.

Investigators believe Brinkman met Premo through a chat line. In the initial investigation, detectives found a letter dated March 10, 1998, addressed to Brinkman with a return address at Premo’s Bellevue home.

Evidence suggested Premo made plans to meet Brinkman, two weeks before the killing.

In an interview that year, Brinkman’s mother told authorities her daughter had made plans to meet a man “from the chat lines” for a date at the movies, police wrote. The callback number left on the mother’s voicemail matched the phone number Premo listed in his letter to Brinkman.

A year after the killing, a detective reportedly called Premo. The detective reported Premo told her he met Brinkman through a chat line but never had any personal contact with her, police wrote.

In a statement dated April 29, 1999, Premo reportedly told police, “I, Jeff Premo Don’t recall talking with the girl. On average I speak with about 12 girls every time I get on the chat.”

The police report does not indicate whether law enforcement contacted Premo again until 2010, when a different detective sent a letter to Premo’s home asking to speak to him. The letter reportedly included a link to a recent press release about the cold case.

The detective did not receive a response, the police report reads. So he called the phone number listed in Premo’s letter to Brinkman. Someone who picked up reportedly told the detective that Premo was not home, but she would leave a message for him to call back. Premo never called back, police wrote.

Ten years later in 2020, another Marysville detective sent fingernail clippings from Brinkman’s body to Parabon Nanolabs in Virginia, in an effort to find DNA under the nails. The private lab uploaded a genetic profile to the ancestry website GEDMatch, and a genealogist built a family tree for the suspect. That research pointed detectives to Premo as a suspect.

Detectives investigated “several” prior people of interest in the investigation, police wrote, but none of the DNA samples collected matched the genetic profile from the fingernails.

On Nov. 16, 2022, detectives reportedly tried to call Premo on the phone but could not reach him. A phone call to the suspect’s mother was immediately disconnected, police wrote.

A few days later, detectives tracked Premo down at his workplace in Redmond.

When police detained him, he reportedly denied meeting Brinkman at first.

Then he said, “We may have crossed lines in the chat lines. But I, like that particular face? I’ve never met that …”

Premo also reportedly told law enforcement he had never been to the city of Marysville.

Investigators served a search warrant to collect Premo’s DNA and sent it to a state forensics lab.

Washington State Patrol lab reports indicated there was “very strong support” that the suspect’s DNA was a contributor to evidence collected from the victim’s body, as well as the envelope mailed from the suspect’s address.

Premo was booked into the Snohomish County Jail around 3 p.m. Nov. 28.

At a court hearing Nov. 29, Everett District Court Judge Anthony Howard found probable cause to hold Premo on the murder charge, setting bail at $250,000.

Ellen Dennis: 425-339-3486; ellen.dennis@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @reporterellen.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

People look out onto Mountain Loop Mine from the second floor hallway of Fairmount Elementary on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Mining company ordered to stop work next to school south of Everett

After operating months without the right paperwork, OMA Construction applied for permits last week. The county found it still violates code.

Snohomish County Jail. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
Arlington woman arrested in 2005 case of killed baby in Arizona airport

Annie Sue Anderson, 51, has been held in the Snohomish County Jail since December. She’s facing extradition.

A Cessna 150 crashed north of Paine Field on Friday evening, Feb. 16, 2024, in Mukilteo, Washington. The pilot survived without serious injury. (Courtesy of Richard Newman.)
‘I’m stuck in the trees’: 911 call recounts plane crash near Paine Field

Asad Ali was coming in for a landing in a Cessna 150 when he crashed into woods south of Mukilteo. Then he called 911 — for 48 minutes.

Everett
Snohomish County likely to feel more like winter, beginning Monday

Get ready for a mix of rain and snow this week, along with cooler temperatures.

The Nimbus Apartments are pictured on Wednesday, March 1, 2023, in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish County has the highest rent in the state. Could this bill help?

In one year, rent for the average two-bedroom apartment in Snohomish County went up 20%. A bill seeks to cap any increases at 7%.

A Snohomish County no trespassing sign hangs on a fence surrounding the Days Inn on Monday, Feb. 12, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Meth cleanup at Edmonds motel-shelter made matters worse, report says

Contamination has persisted at two motels Snohomish County bought to turn into shelters in 2022. In January, the county cut ties with two cleanup agencies.

A child gets some assistance dancing during Narrow Tarot’s set on the opening night of Fisherman’s Village on Thursday, May 18, 2023, at Lucky Dime in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Drive-By Truckers, Allen Stone headline 2024 Fisherman’s Village lineup

Big names and local legends alike are coming to downtown Everett for the music festival from May 16 to 18.

Sen. Patty Murray attends a meeting at the Everett Fire Department’s Station 1 on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Sen. Murray seeks aid for Snohomish County’s fentanyl, child care crises

The U.S. senator visited Everett to talk with local leaders on Thursday, making stops at the YMCA and a roundtable with the mayor.

Anthony Boggess
Arlington man sentenced for killing roommate who offered shelter

Anthony Boggess, 33, reported hearing the voices of “demons” the night he strangled James Thrower, 65.

Brenda Mann Harrison
Taking care of local news is best done together

The Herald’s journalism development director offers parting thoughts.

Lake Serene in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. (U.S. Forest Service)
How will climate change affect you? New tool gives an educated guess

The Climate Vulnerability Tool outlines climate hazards in Snohomish County — and it may help direct resources.

Ken Florczak, president of the five-member board at Sherwood Village Mobile Home community on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024 in Mill Creek, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
How Mill Creek mobile home residents bought the land under their feet

At Sherwood Village, residents are now homeowners. They pay a bit more each month to keep developers from buying their property.

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.