Witness, shell casing tie murder to Central Whidbey

A 67-year-old Freeland man whose body was found in Blaine may have been shot near the Coupeville Ferry.

By Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times

A law enforcement report on the murder of a 67-year-old Whidbey Island man whose body was found in Blaine suggests that he may have been shot near the Coupeville Ferry.

Lynda C. Mercy, a 62-year-old Bellingham resident, made her first appearance in Whatcom County Superior Court Wednesday after being arrested on suspicion of murder in the second degree. The judge set her bail at $1 million.

Thomas Flood’s body was found covered in blankets on a trail inside a Whatcom County park on Semiahmoo Parkway in the afternoon of April 7. Flood was shot twice in the torso.

Detectives located friends of Flood who said he had been living in his van near the Coupeville Ferry Dock in Central Whidbey, although records identify him as a Freeland resident. A witness saw Flood arguing with a woman there at about 1 a.m. on the day before his body was discovered, according to the affidavit of probable cause filed Wednesday.

The witness positively identified Mercy as the woman, the report states.

Detectives searched the area next to the ferry where Flood had parked his van to sleep and found a Sellier & Bellot .40-caliber casing. Mercy had purchased a .40-caliber pistol in December 2020 and had posted a photograph of a box of Sellier & Bellot .40-caliber ammo on her Instagram account, the affidavit says.

After Flood’s body was found, detectives located his Ford Econoline van by “pinging” his cell phone, which was inside the vehicle. The report describes blood pooled on the floorboards and in other areas inside the van.

Detectives were able to trace the van’s movements through the cell phone data and located surveillance video from different businesses. They posted still images of a suspect on social media and asked the public for help in identifying the person.

The department received tips from three people who identified the suspect as Mercy.

After she was arrested Tuesday, Mercy admitted to visiting Port Townsend — the destination of the Coupeville ferry — during the first week of April.

The report doesn’t indicate what Mercy’s motive may have been beyond the argument she allegedly had with Flood. A detective with the Bellingham Police Department and her neighbors suggested that Mercy’s mental health had changed and she had become more aggressive since the pandemic began, the affidavit states.

Mercy’s social media sites suggest she has a fascination with violence, the report says.

“For example, on more than one occasion, she was observed with an angry face stabbing and slashing the air with knives and meat cleavers,” the affidavit states. “In a still photo she was seen wearing what looked like a bloody shirt with a box of S&B ammunition on her lap.”

Detectives recovered Mercy’s gun from a friend whom Mercy had asked to hold it for her after the murder, the report indicates.

This story originally appeared in the Whidbey News-Times, a sister publication to The Herald.

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