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Author Topic: Sherry Harlan 35, missing 1/?/10 from Everett, WA (Body Found)  (Read 6933 times)
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Nut44x4
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« on: January 06, 2010, 08:00:45 PM »


Detectives search home of missing Everett-area woman
1/6/10
Snohomish County sheriff's detectives and investigators from the State Patrol crime lab have spent the morning searching Sherry Harlan's apartment, looking for evidence to help them determine what happened to the missing 35-year-old woman.

Late Tuesday night, one of Harlan's co-workers contacted the Sheriff's Office to report that Harlan hadn't shown up for her last two or three shifts at work, said sheriff's spokeswoman Rebecca Hover. A deputy was sent to Harlan's unit at the Cedar Creek Apartments in the 11600 block of Highway 99, just south of the Everett city limits, to conduct a welfare check.

The deputy didn't find Harlan at home — but for reasons investigators aren't willing to divulge, detectives decided to request a search warrant to enter her unit, which they did this morning around 8 a.m., Hover said.

The fact Harlan missed work is "highly unusual," Hover said, describing Harlan as "punctual and responsible about her work."

It's possible Harlan "has been missing up to a week," Hover said. "It's a concern to us that she's missed work, she's not at her apartment and we can't find her."

Harlan's vehicle is also missing. Her car is described as a bluish-gray, four-door 1989 Nissan Sentra with Washington license plate number 928 RVN.

Harlan, who moved into the Cedar Creek Apartments two months ago, lived alone, Hover said. She couldn't say what kind of work Harlan does or where she is employed, other than her workplace "is somewhere in Snohomish County."

A neighbor of the woman told KIRO-7 TV that he went inside the apartment after the manager of the complex opened the unit Tuesday night. The man said there was a strong smell of bleach, and portions of a bedroom carpet were cut out.

Hover said she could not confirm that information nor discuss specifics of what was found inside the apartment.

As is typical in missing-person investigations, Hover said detectives will be checking Harlan's phone and credit-card records for any recent activity.

According to records, Harlan previously lived in Lynnwood, Renton, Fall City and Startup.

Anyone with information about Harlan's whereabouts is asked to call the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office tip line at 425-388-3845.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2010723808_webmissing06m.html
« Last Edit: January 06, 2010, 08:02:30 PM by Nut44x4 » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2010, 08:04:11 PM »

Smell Of Bleach, Cut-Out Carpet Clues Found At Missing Woman's Home
Posted: 4:07 am PST January 6, 2010
Updated: 12:45 pm PST January 6, 2010

Comment On This Story ››

EVERETT, Wash. -- Snohomish County deputies are investigating what police are calling a suspicious disappearance of a south Everett woman after possible signs of a crime were discovered by a neighbor who entered the woman's apartment.

Snohomish County sheriff's spokeswoman Rebecca Hover told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News that deputies were called to the Cedar Creek Apartments on Highway 99 Tuesday night after a co-worker went to check on the woman who failed to show up for work for several days.

SLIDESHOW: Investigators Comb Missing Woman's Apartment

Police said 35-year-old Sherry Harlan may have been missing for up to a week. The last time Harlan was seen or heard from is not known.

"She worked at a Snohomish County business and was reportedly very punctual and responsible about reporting to work. Last night, we received a call from one of her co-workers that said (Harlan) hadn't been to work for two or three days, possibly starting over this weekend. She did work weekend shifts and things like that," said Hover.

A neighbor of the woman told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Chris Francis that he went inside the apartment after the manager of the complex opened the unit Tuesday night. The man said there was a strong smell of bleach and portions of a bedroom carpet were cut out.

Larry Lloyd, who lives behind Harlan, said Harlan was concerned for her safety after a boyfriend or ex-husband was recently released from jail.

Lloyd said that man had come around the apartment a few times.

"She mentioned something to the landlady and her friend at work, to keep an eye on her (and) she didn't know what the hell was going to happen to her. She didn't say boyfriend or husband or whatever but she was afraid of something. You could see it in her eyes," said Lloyd.

Hover said Harlan has lived alone in the apartment for two or three months.

After obtaining a search warrant, police and staff from the State Patrol crime lab entered the apartment at about 8 a.m.

A tent has been set up outside the apartment building while investigators collect evidence.

Hover said the woman's disappearance is currently a missing persons case with suspicious circumstances.

Police said Harlan's car, a 1989 blue-gray Nissan Sentra with Washington license No. 928-RVN, is also missing.

Anyone with information about Harlan's whereabouts is asked to call the Snohomish County Sheriff's Department tip line.
http://www.kirotv.com/news/22147187/detail.html
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« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2010, 08:05:39 PM »

Neighbor: Missing woman's apartment like 'a war zone'

Jan 6, 2010 at 3:59 PM PST
EVERETT, Wash. -- Detectives have spent the day collecting evidence from the apartment of a 35-year-old Everett woman who hasn't been seen in days.
Officials say the case of Sherry Harlan is suspicious, but they have not indicated if anyone is being sought in connection with her disappearance.

Harlan was reported missing Tuesday evening after she missed several days of work.

Her co-workers at the Lynnwood JCPenney store went to her apartment to check on her before calling police. She wasn't home, but a neighbor said they made a frightening discovery inside.

"Torn up carpet. Torn up linoleum. Bleach everywhere," said Schuyler Thorpe. "It's like the whole place was turned into a war zone. Like it was done in a real hurry."

Thorpe said he and his wife saw a strange man hanging around the apartment about the time investigators think Harlan disappeared.

Investigators cordoned off the apartment overnight and, after obtaining a search warrant, detectives went in and began collecting evidence.

A State Patrol crime lab team has been at the scene all day, but officials are not saying what they have found in Harlan's unit at the Cedar Creek Apartments at 11615 Highway 99.

Harlan had been living at the apartment complex for several months, and her father said she moved there after her boyfriend was hauled off to jail.

Snohomish County Sheriff spokeswoman Rebecca Hover said anyone with information about Harlan should call police.

Harlan's car, a 1989 blue-grey Nissan Sentra with Washington license 928-RVN, is also missing.

http://www.komonews.com/news/80794592.html
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« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2010, 08:07:09 PM »

comments

http://www.komonews.com/news/80794592.html#idc-container
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« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2010, 08:31:57 AM »

Missing Wash. woman believed homicide victim
The Associated Press • Published January 07, 2010

EVERETT, Wash. – Snohomish County sheriff's detectives have arrested an ex-boyfriend of a missing Everett woman for investigation of second-degree murder. While no body has been found, they say they believe Sherry Harlan is a homicide victim.

Booked into the Snohomish County Jail on Thursday was 40-year-old Eric Christensen of Gold Bar.

Detectives began focusing on the man after friends and neighbors told them that the 35-year-old woman had reported the man beat her. Sheriff's spokeswoman Rebecca Hover says another neighbor reported hearing yelling and fighting at Harlan's apartment last Saturday.

Harlan's co-workers called 911 on Tuesday night after she missed several shifts.

Hover says a search of the Gold Bar man's residence and car turned up bloody clothing that appears to be his. He also had numerous scratches on his face, forearms and lower back and a stab wound on his right knee.

A search of Harlan's apartment showed evidence of an attempt to clean it up, with portions of vinyl and carpet cut out and removed.

http://www.theolympian.com/northwest/story/1094249.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+theolympian-Northwest+%28The+Olympian+-+Northwest%29
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« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2010, 08:34:58 AM »

Ex-boyfriend arrested; missing woman picked 'wrong' men
By Christine Clarridge

January 7, 2010
Sherry Harlan, the Everett-area woman who is missing and presumed dead, was selfless, generous, loyal and forgiving — to a fault, her friends said.

Those qualities, which made her so dear to the people who loved her, may have also made her a murder victim, they said.

"She didn't think she could live without a man," said John Price, of Dunedin, Fla., whose wife is a longtime friend of Harlan's. "But she was a magnet for the wrong type."

Harlan, 35, was reported missing Tuesday.

On Thursday, her ex-boyfriend — a 40-year-old Level 1 sex offender with convictions for rape, domestic violence, assault, forgery and theft — was arrested on investigation of second-degree murder in connection with her presumed slaying, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office.

Detectives focused on the ex-boyfriend after friends and neighbors said Harlan had told them he'd beaten her up before and she wanted to break up with him but feared his reaction, said sheriff's spokeswoman Rebecca Hover.

One neighbor reported hearing screaming and yelling coming from Harlan's apartment Jan. 2, Hover said.

When police searched the man's Gold Bar home and car Wednesday they found bloody clothing that appears to belong to the ex-boyfriend. He also had numerous scratches on his face and body and a stab wound on his knee, Hover said.

While Harlan's body has not been found, several friends say they are certain she is dead.

"This is what she was afraid of," said a friend and neighbor who asked not to be named. "She said she was afraid he would hurt her if she broke up with him,"

Harlan worked at JC Penney in Lynnwood and enjoyed her job, according to friend Teresa Maynard.

She was punctual and reliable, so when she missed work for several days and failed to call in, a co-worker was alarmed, friends said. The co-worker called 911 to report her as a missing person. She also went to her apartment complex.

A maintenance man let a neighbor into Harlan's apartment Tuesday night while the co-worker waited outside. The neighbor found that the kitchen linoleum had been pulled up, patches of carpet and padding had been removed, and there was an "overwhelming smell of bleach" inside, the neighbor said.

Harlan's dog, Rosco, and his crate were also gone, the neighbor said.

The neighbor and the co-worker called 911 again and waited for deputies to arrive.

The suspect was originally booked into jail early Thursday on a parole violation for failing to register as a sex offender following a 1994 sexual-assault conviction in Oregon. He later was booked on investigation of second-degree murder.

According to Price, Harlan met the suspect last summer on a social-networking site.

"She fell for him hard and fast," said Price, who opened his home to Harlan and her boyfriend last year before Price and his wife moved. "She looked at him as if he was the best thing in her life and the best thing that was ever going to happen to her."

Harlan's ex-boyfriend, however, was charged in September in Snohomish County with possession of a dangerous weapon and was sent back to jail, according to court documents. Harlan told her neighbor before he got out of jail Dec. 26 that he wanted to move in with her, but she wouldn't allow it.

She brought him to her apartment, the neighbor said, but he was "controlling, possessive and obsessed."

He kept his eyes on her, the neighbor said, and even "shadowed her" when she went outside to walk the dog.

The neighbor said she told Harlan to "get rid of him," but Harlan was torn between love, obligation and fear.

"We're all just heartbroken," Price said. "Sherry had a history of trusting the wrong people and getting hurt. My wife and I both told her she needed to learn to live and be happy without a man before she could be happy with a man, but, unfortunately, she never got to that point."

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/PrintStory.pl?document_id=2010738076&zsection_id=2003925728&slug=missingwoman08m&date=20100107
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« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2010, 04:13:30 PM »

http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20100108/NEWS01/701089727&news01ad=1
Bloody shoe print leads cops to murder suspect

By Jackson Holtz and Diana Hefley
Herald Writers
EVERETT — Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives say a bloody shoe print on a T-shirt inside Sherry Harlan’s Everett apartment links a Gold Bar man to her disappearance and presumed killing.

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 Harlan’s ex-boyfriend lives, they found a pair of red-and-black basketball shoes with a sole pattern that matches the bloody shoeprint, 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 the man in the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of failing to register as a sex offender.

Harlan hasn’t been found. The man, 40, 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.

The ex-boyfriend 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 the ex-boyfriend the day of the argument huddled down next to Harlan’s car. Roscoe, the dog, was inside.

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

When police caught up with the ex-boyfriend 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.

The ex-boyfriend said that Harlan “didn’t need the dog anymore,” detectives wrote in their report.

Detectives haven’t found the dog.
The burned out wreckage of a car was found Thursday night near Gold Bar, Snohomish County sheriff’s spokeswoman Rebecca Hover said.

She said the vehicle was burned beyond any obvious recognition and further investigation was necessary.

The ex-boyfriend is expected to go before an Everett District Court judge this afternoon for a bail hearing.
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« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2010, 04:56:49 PM »

Could burned car and remains found be missing woman's?
1/8/10
Detectives say a burned out vehicle found in the Gold Bar area Thursday contained human remains, Snohomish County Sheriff's spokeswoman Rebecca Hover said.

"The vehicle has not yet been confirmed to be Sherry Harlan's missing 1989 Nissan Sentra," she said "It is too badly damaged to make an immediate identification."

Sherry A. Harlan was declared missing Tuesday night after a co-worker contacted police to say she hadn't been at work for two or three days.

"Harlan is described as punctual and responsible about her work, so this discovery caused concern," Hover said earlier this week.

Detectives obtained a search warrant for Harlan's apartment, and investigators with the State Patrol Crime Lab processes items from the residence.

Harlan's 1989 four door blue Nissan Sentra, license plate 928RVN, also was reported missing. The remains found Friday were being examined by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner.

Harlan's ex-boyfriend was arrested Thursday. He lives in Gold Bar.

Detectives began focusing on him after friends and neighbors told investigators Harlan said the man beat her, according to The Associated Press. Hover said at least one neighbor reported hearing a fight at Harlan's apartment Saturday.
http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattle911/archives/190485.asp
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« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2010, 08:10:12 AM »

Body found in missing woman's car; ex-boyfriend charged

EVERETT, Wash. - A burned-out car belonging to a missing Everett woman was found near Gold Bar with a body inside, and her ex-boyfriend was charged with second-degree murder.

Sherry Harlan's ex-boyfriend, Eric Christensen, was ordered held on $2 million bail.
Snohomish County Sheriff's spokeswoman Rebecca Hover says the car found Thursday is the 1989 Nissan Sentra belonging to Harlan, 35, who was reported missing Tuesday.

The county medical examiner's office is identifying the body found inside the charred vehicle, which was found in the Reiter Pit area, about 2 1/2 miles up Reiter Road near Gold Bar.

Detectives believe Harlan was a victim of homicide. On Thursday, they arrested her former boyfriend, Eric Christensen, 40, of Gold Bar, for investigation of murder.

Detectives began focusing on Christensen early on in the investigation based on information provided by friends and neighbors who said Harlan told them her boyfriend had beaten her before.

She told friends she was afraid to break up with him for fear he would come after her and kill her.

Another neighbor reported hearing yelling and fighting on Saturday morning that appeared to come from Harlan's apartment.

Wednesday night detectives served a search warrant on a piece of property in Gold Bar where the ex-boyfriend lives.

Detectives searched Christensen's home and car and discovered bloody clothing that appears to belong to him. He also had numerous scratches on his face, forearms, shoulder and lower back, and a stab wound on his right knee.

The ex-boyfriend was first arrested and booked Thursday morning into the Snohomish County Jail for failure to register as a sex offender. He has a 1990 conviction in Oregon for first-degree sexual abuse and is classified as a Level 1 sex offender.

Christensen has other criminal history as well, including convictions for assault and domestic violence.

Detectives and crime lab investigators also collected a large amount of evidence from Harlan's apartment, in the Cedar Creek Apartments at 11615 Highway 99, on Wednesday.

Portions of vinyl and carpet had been cut out and removed from the apartment, and there was evidence of an attempt to clean up the unit.

Detectives continue to investigate the case. Harlan's body has not yet been found.

On Thursday afternoon, investigators shut down a road in Gold bar Where a burned-out car was found. They have not said whether the car is connected to the Harlan case.

http://www.komonews.com/news/81029952.html
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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2010, 08:39:51 AM »

Testing of remains found in car may take up to a week

The car, which belongs to a missing Everett woman, was discovered near Gold Bar

http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20100109/NEWS01/701099901&news01ad=1

It is most likely a 'given' that this is her, but I'll wait for positive ID before moving.
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« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2010, 07:44:25 PM »

I think it is time to move this...

Monday, January 11, 2010
updated at 04:07 PM

Gold Bar man charged in ex-girlfriend's slaying

A Gold Bar man with a violent criminal history is accused of killing his girlfriend then burning the woman's remains in her car, according to Snohomish County prosecutors.

Eric Christensen, 40, was charged in Everett District Court today with second-degree murder, according to the Snohomish County Prosecutor's Office. In Snohomish County, charges are often filed first in district court then refiled in Snohomish County Superior Court. Prosecutors have until Jan. 29 to refile the case in felony court.

While the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office has not formally identified the remains found inside Sherry Harlan's car as belonging to the missing woman, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Craig Matheson believes that the remains are those of the Everett-area woman.

"Circumstantially, I'm comfortable that it is Ms. Harlan's body," Matheson said this afternoon. "It will take a couple of days to get an positive ID."

Today, Snohomish County sheriff's detectives were investigating additional remains found near Harlan's car, Matheson said. Sheriff's spokeswoman Rebecca Hover declined to comment.

Matheson said that he plans to meet with Harlan's family this week to discuss the case.

Harlan, 35, was reported missing by a co-worker on Tuesday after she failed to show up for two shifts at work.

Her burned car was found at a gravel pit in eastern Snohomish County on Thursday.

Detectives found a bloody footprint, human tissue and blood spattered throughout Harlan's Everett-area apartment, as well as signs that someone had attempted to clean it up and remove evidence, according to court documents filed last week.

Friends and neighbors told investigators that Harlan wanted to break up with Christensen, but was afraid because he had previously beaten her to a "bloody pulp," according to court documents.

When investigators served a search warrant on Christensen's home, they found a bloodstained pair of jeans and shoes that appeared to match the footprint in Harlan's apartment, court documents say. Police and prosecutors say Christensen was covered with scratch marks and had an apparent stab wound on his leg.

Christensen, a Level 1 sex offender with a long criminal history that includes rape, domestic violence, assault, forgery and theft.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/theblotter/2010767915_gold_bar_man_accused_of_killin.html
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« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2010, 10:10:39 AM »

Backlog swells at Washington state crime lab
January 17, 2010

A dearth of trained firearms ballistics examiners at the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory Division has clogged the justice system and created backlogs of up to a year.

On average, it now takes state experts more than six months to complete ballistics tests in cases involving firearms. Detectives often wait up to a year for results.

That means delays in bringing answers to crime victims, or their families.

Now, confronted with a soaring state budget shortfall, Gov. Chris Gregoire has proposed cutting jobs from the crime lab.

"Everybody's in the same leaky boat," said Larry Hebert, the state crime lab's acting director. "The tricky part is not being the one to sink the boat."

The state crime lab is actually seven labs throughout the state, including one in Marysville, with about 150 employees. All the fat already has been trimmed from its budget, Hebert said. Any more would eat away muscle and may mean a reduction in the kind of services it provides.

"It takes time to do a thorough, thoughtful job," he said.

The science of fighting crime isn't like TV shows where complex lab work takes minutes. Much of the work is painstakingly slow, Hebert said. A diligent ballistics examiner, for example, may process about eight cases a month.

Processing evidence within a month of when it is collected by police is the lab's acceptable standard, Hebert said. But of the six different kinds of analysis conducted by the state lab, the one-month deadline is met in only two areas.

Testing for DNA on average takes two months. Fingerprint exams take about 47 days. Microanalysis - looking at fibers, shoe prints and other evidence - can take about five months.

"While those backlogs exist, there are a lot of new victims, and victims of older crimes, that are not getting justice," said Lawrence Kobilinsky, a professor and chairman of the Department of Sciences at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

State law mandates the crime lab's existence. Local police departments don't pay for evidence they collect to be processed.

It takes about $17 million each year to run the sophisticated laboratories, money that comes primarily from the state's general fund.

There are private laboratories that do forensic testing, but the costs are extraordinary, Hebert said. Processing DNA can run in the thousands of dollars and firearms testing can cost about $2,000 a case.

When local police or prosecutors turn to those labs, they must foot the bill.

Hebert said the state crime lab would be forced to either eliminate services or reprioritize the kinds of crimes it investigates should budget cuts require layoffs.

Officials already are selective about what types of cases they send to the lab. In 2009 the lab stopped processing leaf marijuana cases and instead trained officers to identify the substance in the field and then testify about the evidence in court, Hebert said.

Should further reductions be necessary, the lab may have to narrow its focus to priority cases such as violent felonies, he said.

The backlogs haven't prevented the lab from rallying to meet trial deadlines or help locate dangerous suspects.

Key evidence was processed in days to help Seattle police apprehend Christopher Monfort, the man accused of killing Seattle police officer Timothy Brenton, who lived in Marysville. By contrast, tests results are pending in most of the fatal shootings by police in Snohomish County last year.

State forensic experts place a priority on making sure cases are ready for trial, Snohomish County Prosecutor Mark Roe said.

"When we have a case going to trial, they get it done, often by burning the midnight oil, ignoring their families, probably, and just getting it done," Roe said. "Only rarely is trial delayed."

Having state crime lab investigators respond with local detectives in the disappearance and killing of Sherry Harlan earlier this month was critical, Snohomish County sheriff's spokeswoman Rebecca Hover said. The information they gathered likely will be used in the criminal case.

Still, the backlog at the labs regularly delays investigations and charging decisions, Roe said.

The backlog is felt by detectives too, Hover said.

"We have some cases in our office that are awaiting forensics results from the lab and not just the firearms ballistics department," Hover said. "I'm sure that's true for other agencies as well."

One reason for the backlog is the difficulty in finding qualified firearms ballistics examiners. That problem isn't limited to Washington.

Nationally, the FBI lab has a backlog of about 300 ballistics cases, special agent Ann Todd said. It's taking about four months on average to turn around results.

Federal agents used to be able to help state and local crime laboratories with backlog issues.

"At this time, based on current staffing levels, we are no longer in a position to offer this type of assistance to our crime laboratory partners," Todd said.

The state lab in Idaho must send firearms examinations out of state for peer review, because the state has only one trained person on staff, said Anne Nord, a lab manager in Coeur d'Alene.

Oregon State Police have a handle on their ballistics cases but, like Washington, are behind in processing DNA, said Glen Spencer, a forensic supervisor at the crime lab in Portland.

They have the equipment, but not the trained workers.

"We do understand the time it takes to train new people. That's really where the rub is," he said.

Robots and sophisticated computers are used to extract and identify DNA evidence. In contrast, ballistics exams come down to a highly trained set of eyes peering at bullet fragments through a comparison microscope, Kobilinsky said.

The apprenticeship for firearms examiners can take up to three years, while a DNA examiner can be trained in six months.

Only after years of training can examiners link bullet fragments to a specific weapon and testify as experts in court.

Even so, the field is moving to bring quantitative and objective resources to firearms exams, Kobilinsky said.

"There's an issue of whether the whole field of ballistics can demonstrate that the conclusions are scientifically based and reliable," he said.

That's likely to take resources and time.

Meanwhile, Washington has four ballistics examiners training right now.

Hebert said he hopes that the lab will be fully staffed and backlogs reduced by this time in 2011.

It’s a matter of public safety, he said.

"To us it's more than just numbers, because we live in these communities," he said. "That's our back yard, too."

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/PrintStory.pl?document_id=2010821741&zsection_id=2003925728&slug=apwacrimelabbacklog1stldwritethru&date=20100117
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« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2010, 01:17:36 PM »

Suspect in Everett woman's killing charged with murder, cites ‘blood oath'

The Gold Bar man faces life in prison as a persistent offender if he's convicted in the Jan. 2 stabbing death

EVERETT — An admittedly jealous ex-boyfriend was charged with first-degree murder Friday for what a prosecutor described as the “savaging” of an Everett-area woman.

Eric James Christensen, 40, killed Sherry Harlan in her apartment Jan. 2, apparently stabbing her multiple times, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Craig Matheson said in court papers.

Christensen then cut Harlan up and enlisted a friend's help for two days in trying to hide her remains at “multiple sites” near Gold Bar, including in shallow graves and in a car that was set afire, the prosecutor said.

Within days of Christensen's Jan. 7 arrest, the man who allegedly helped hide evidence led detectives to various sites where human remains were found. Those have been linked to Harlan based on fingerprints, court papers said.

Christensen has served prison time for a sex offense and for shooting a rifle at another former girlfriend. If convicted of killing Harlan, 35, he'll face an automatic life sentence under the state's persistent offender law.

He is jailed on $2 million bail, but prosecutors want that increased to $5 million.

Harlan's friends and co-workers became concerned when she failed to return phone calls or show up for her job at J.C. Penney at Alderwood mall. At their urging, sheriff's deputies went inside her south Everett apartment. They immediately recognized it had been the scene of a violent crime and somebody's botched attempt to eliminate evidence, court papers said.

Blood was spattered in numerous places, carpet had been cut up and the rooms reeked of bleach. A shoeprint left in blood also was found on a T-shirt.

When detectives later searched Christensen's Gold Bar-area home, they found shoes with a sole pattern that matched a bloody print. They found a pair of blood-soaked jeans and a shopping list for bleach, garbage bags, sponges and a mop. They also found receipts and later recovered store surveillance video showing Christensen after the killing at stores where those items were bought, Matheson wrote.

Detectives zeroed in on Christsensen almost immediately.

Harlan had previously told people her ex-boyfriend had beaten her and threatened to take her life if she tried to end the relationship, court papers show.

Christensen told detectives he hadn't seen Harlan since they argued in her apartment Jan. 2, according to court papers.

He said he'd gone to her home Jan. 1 for dinner and a movie and had stayed the night. In a sworn affidavit that was filed to get a judge's permission to search Christensen's home, detectives recounted how the defendant allegedly went into detail about sexual activity while at Harlan's home. He said the visit ended badly, however, after he found text messages on her cell phone from another man, somebody he called her “sugar daddy.”

Christensen told detectives that he'd found similar messages on Harlan's phone weeks earlier and that she'd promised to cease contact with the man. To seal the deal, Christensen said he and Harlan had gone through a “blood oath” ceremony.

“He said that in ‘ancient times' people that broke similar vows were sometimes killed,” a sheriff's detective wrote of the conversation.

Christensen said that on Jan. 2, when he confronted Harlan about the messages, the argument became physical and they traded blows. He told detectives that because she'd broken the oath, Harlan “in Scottish ... would be what's known as a warlock, which is evil, a traitor, an enemy,” court papers said.

During their search of Christensen's home, detectives found a computer printout about warlocks “that contained almost identical language as that used by defendant in describing Harlan,” Matheson wrote.

Within hours of Christensen's arrest, Harlan's burned-out Nissan Sentra was found near a gravel pit outside Gold Bar. Investigators discovered partial human remains inside, including a skull with the tip of a knife embedded in the bone.

Later, Christensen's friend approached detectives through a lawyer and offered to lead them to more of Harlan's body. Matheson said prosecutors agreed not to charge the man so long as no evidence surfaced that his involvement was more than assisting Christensen in trying to hide evidence. He remains free and is being treated as a key witness in the case, the prosecutor said.

Christsensen was convicted of first-degree sexual abuse in 1990 in Oregon. He also spent a dozen years in prison for domestic violence assault involving another ex-girlfriend. In 1994, he showed up at a Seattle bus stop armed with a rifle. He tried to shoot the woman and others, but was unsuccessful.

“I missed because the sights to the rifle were off,” Christensen said at the time. “I was on what my ancestors call a ‘blood run.' ”
http://heraldnet.com/article/20100130/NEWS01/701309925
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« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2010, 01:28:12 PM »

Hoping for justice for Sherry Harlan and at the same time take this POS off the streets and keep him off!   

Rest in peace, Sherry Harlan.   an angelic monkey
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« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2010, 05:07:44 PM »

Slain Woman, Ex-Boyfriend Made Wiccan Pact, Cops Say
Updated: 33 minutes ago

(Feb. 3) -- Prosecutors in Everett, Wash., say a Gold Bar man murdered his former girlfriend last month because she broke a "Wiccan blood oath" to break off a relationship with another man.

Eric Christensen, 40, was charged Jan. 29 in Snohomish County Superior Court with first-degree murder in the slaying of 35-year-old Sherry Harlan. On Monday, Christensen entered a not guilty plea and remains jailed on $5 million bail. His trial is set to begin March 19.

Prosecutors say Harlan's body was cut up and left in various locations in the area.

"Both Christensen and Harlan were members of the Wiccan church, and Christensen had Ms. Harlan enter into this blood oath in December 2009, promising not to see this other fellow -- her sugar daddy," Craig Matheson, Snohomish County senior deputy prosecutor, told AOL News. "She promised to do that during the course of this oath that was witnessed by another Wiccan."

Representatives of the Wiccan community have reacted strongly to what they say is a misguided rationalization for the slaying involving practices that are not condoned by the religion.

Harlan was reported missing Jan. 5 when she failed to show for work. When police questioned her friends, they said they were concerned for her safety because she had recently told them she was worried that Christensen would "beat her to a bloody pulp" if she broke up with him, police said.

Christensen's public defender, Kathleen Kyle, did not return calls for comment.

When authorities searched Harlan's apartment in south Everett, they found signs of a violent struggle and evidence that someone had attempted to clean the unit with bleach. Investigators then obtained a search warrant for Christensen's apartment, where they found a pair of shoes that allegedly match a bloody footprint found in Harlan's apartment. They also confiscated a pair of blood-stained jeans.

While it was clear something terrible had happened inside Harlan's apartment, police did not have a body, and both she and her vehicle were missing. In an effort to get Christensen off the streets while they continued their investigation, police took him into custody for failing to register as a sex offender. Prosecutors say he had a 1990 conviction in Oregon for first-degree sexual abuse.

"Christiansen has a well-documented criminal history of offending against former girlfriends," Matheson said. "He served jail time in the mid-'90s for taking a rifle shot at an ex-girlfriend he claimed had been cheating on him."

The shooting incident Matheson refers to occurred in 1994, when Christiansen stood at a Seattle bus stop and shot at a former girlfriend and her friend. Christiansen missed, and the two escaped without injury.

Police said Christiansen later told them, "People shoot people where I come from and a girlfriend cheats on you." He also said, "I missed because the sights to the rifle were off," according to court documents.

As a result of the incident, Christensen was convicted of two counts of first-degree domestic violence and assault. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison and was released in August 2006.

When questioned about Harlan's disappearance, Christensen told police he had not seen her since Jan. 2. He did, however, admit to having an argument with her regarding the broken blood oath.

"He described the oath as a ceremony where you promise to do various things or not do various things and you seal the deal by pricking a finger, getting some blood and burning that in some incense," Matheson said. "That blood is part of sealing the deal. They do their various incantations, make the oath and purify the circle. According to Christensen, back in ancient times, if you break the blood oath, the penalty for that could be death."

Christensen allegedly said that he discovered Harlan had broken the oath when he found a text message on her phone from the guy she had agreed to break off contact with. The transgression, Christensen told police, made her a "'warlock,' literally an evil traitor."

The investigation into Harlan's disappearance took a surprising turn in the days following Christensen's arrest, when a friend of his came forward and told police that he had driven Christensen around Snohomish County so he could dispose of Harlan's remains.

"On the day or days following the homicide, Christiansen apparently dismembered the body and then dumped body parts at various parts of the county," Matheson said.

According to Matheson, body parts were recovered at several places around a gravel pit east of Gold Bar. Some had been buried in the ground; others had been left on the surface.

"As far as I can tell at this moment, the dismemberment appeared to be an effort to aid in disposal of the body," Matheson said. "I have not found, in any of the literature I have read about the Wiccan religion, that it is connected to that in any way."

Matheson has not admitted to killing Harlan; however, the evidence against him was sufficient for prosecutors to charge him with first-degree murder.

Christiansen's statements to police and his alleged association with the Wiccan religion have caused an uproar within the Wiccan community.

"First of all, in order to nullify this man's association or affiliation with Wicca or witchcraft in general, no denominations belonging to either category advocate the practice of violence to animal or human for any reason whatsoever," Peter Stephen Moore, a former Wiccan and current Thelemic Witch from Pennsylvania, told AOL News. "The main tenet of Wicca is called the Wiccan Rede. It is this: 'An' it harm none, do what thou wilt.' It basically means so long as no one is harmed through your actions, the pursuit of your will (destiny, purpose, dharma) is encouraged. There are no extenuating circumstances or rationalizations to this rule. Modern Wiccans do not believe in acts of vengeance or in engaging in any activity that would impede another's actions."

Moore also found a problem with the blood oath Christiansen described.

"There are oaths taken in both witchcraft and ceremonial magical traditions, but there are no oaths in Wicca involving blood that I am aware of. And even assuming there are, no Wiccan would advocate the type of oath he's claiming she took," Moore said. "Wiccans do not believe in the binding of one's love 'till death do us part.' Any taking of such blood oaths as he describes was most likely taken only to pacify his insecurities. He allegedly dismembered the body in an attempt to conceal his alleged crime. Now he chooses a minority religion, whose beliefs and principles are not universally known and understood, to be a scapegoat for his emotional insecurities and their resulting selfish brutalities."

Pat Brown, world-renowned criminal profiler and founder of patbrownprofiling.com, agrees with Moore.

"Christiansen is no different than any other guy who got jilted and wants to make his ex pay the price," Brown said. "He found a justification, a version of 'The b---- made me do it' because she violated her religious vow to him of remaining true to him, to be his one and only."
http://www.aolnews.com/crime/article/murder-suspect-eric-christensen-had-wiccan-blood-oath-with-victim-police-say/19343623
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« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2010, 09:10:55 PM »

Updated: May 25, 2010 at 5:58 PM PDT

EVERETT, Wash. -- Prosecutors believe modern witchcraft drove a Gold Bar man to kill his girlfriend, dismember her body and scatter her remains around Snohomish County.

Prosecutors outlined the gruesome details in the opening statements at the trial of Eric Christensen on Tuesday. Christensen has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Sherry Harlan.

Christensen met Harlan through the Internet, and the two later moved in together.

"And we know this is a significant relationship, because Eric introduced her to his friends. He introduced her to his church," said defense attorney Kathleen Kyle.

Christensen told detectives the woman took a "blood oath" to break-off a relationship with another man. But when Christensen found text messages from an ex-boyfriend, he admits he flew into a jealous rage.

"In ancient times, people who broke blood oaths were sometimes killed," Christensen told investigators. He has denied any involvement in her death, however.

But prosecutors believe Christensen not only killed Harlan, but also plotted her murder. Investigators said Christensen went to great lengths in an attempt to cover up the crime, ripping out the carpet, bleaching the crime scene and mutilating the body to further hide evidence.

The defense attorney says there's no evidence of a premeditated murder.

"(Harlan's death is) terrible, terrible for many reasons," Kyle said. "But the dispute in this case is that the terrible reasons that this crime was tried to be covered up is not evidence of premeditation."

Harlan was reported missing Jan. 5 after she failed to show up for her job at a JCPenney store.

Prosecutors called to the stand one of Harlan's co-workers, who said she thought it strange when Harlan failed to show up for several of her shifts.

"And I thought, 'OK, well, something's got to be wrong here, because she would never go all those days without keeping in contact with anybody,"' said Teresa Remtko.

Harlan's burned-out 1989 Nissan Sentra was found Jan. 7 in the Reiter Pit area near Gold Bar. Detectives later said human remains were found inside the car.

Harlan's mother, Cheryl Thomas, said the murder victim was "the love of everybody's life, a joy to have around."

"Even when she was down, she never showed that she was down. She was just a really good person, a good person," Thomas said during a previous interview with KOMO News.

During the initial investigation, detectives began focusing on Christensen based on information from friends and neighbors who said Harlan told them her boyfriend had beaten her before. She told friends she was afraid to break up with him for fear he would come after her and kill her.

Another neighbor reported hearing yelling and fighting on Jan. 2 that appeared to come from Harlan's apartment.

On Jan. 6, detectives searched Christensen's home and car and discovered bloody clothing that appeared to belong to him. He also had numerous scratches on his face, forearms, shoulder and lower back, and a stab wound on his right knee.

Christensen initially was arrested and booked Jan. 7 into the Snohomish County Jail for failure to register as a sex offender. He has a 1990 conviction in Oregon for first-degree sexual abuse and is classified as a Level 1 sex offender. He was later charged with second-degree murder, which was upgraded to first-degree murder.

The trial is expected to take two weeks. The prosecutor has a long list of witnesses to call. The defense attorney hasn't said whether she plans to call Christensen to the stand.

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/94883429.html
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« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2010, 07:54:05 AM »

Man found guilty in witchcraft-fueled murder
6.4.10

EVERETT, Wash. - A Snohomish County jury took just two hours to find a Gold Bar man guilty Friday of the gruesome witchcraft-fueled murder and dismemberment of his ex-girlfriend in January.

Eric Christensen, 40, was found guilty of first-degree murder after jurors rejected his lawyer's argument that the killing was a crime of passion, and not premeditated.

The conviction means Christensen will face a much longer prison term when he is sentenced June 18.

But he didn't seem too upset - the killer laughed as he was escorted from the courtroom.

Christensen's 35-year-old girlfriend, Sherry Harlan, was killed sometime between Jan. 2 and 3 by Christensen after he found a text message from another man on her cell phone.

According to court papers, Christensen told police that Harlan had broken a "Wiccan blood oath" she had made to break off a relationship with the other man.

Christiansen told investigators, "In ancient times, people who broke blood oaths were sometimes killed," according to court documents, adding the discovery of the text message made him angry.

After the killing, prosecutors said, Christensen dismembered her body, then asked a friend to drive him around the Gold Bar area to help dispose of the woman's remains. Her burned-out car was found earlier with human remains inside in the Reiter Pit area near Gold Bar.

Before he was found guilty on Friday, Christensen didn't look like a man who was worried he was about to be convicted.

Meanwhile, the crowd in the courtroom was obviously taken aback by what some called a "creepy smile."

And when court finally recessed, Harlan's good friend "Jar" she spoke to her lost pal.

"Sherry, here is your hug," she said. "I love you and miss you with all my heart. Justice has been served - you can be at rest soon after sentencing."

The defense attorney admitted Christensen killed Harlan, but she pressed the jury to believe that he just snapped.

"Her death was a crime - but her death was not premeditated," the defense lawyer said to jurors.

But the prosecutor said it was a cold-blooded, calculated murder.

He told jurors that premeditation doesn't require days of planning - that Christensen, in a jealous rage, quickly plotted a violent murder.

After the guilty verdict was delivered, "Jar" said, "I can't help but crying 'cause severity of crime. I brought my bite guard in to bite down so I would not say a word."

She had to use that bite guard to get thru the grisly testimony.

Harlan's body was cut up into nine pieces. Her skull was found in her car, and Christensen set it on fire to hide evidence.

Because the crime was so gory, the judge told the jurors they're all entitled to counseling - if they want it -at the county's expense.
http://www.komonews.com/news/local/95658984.html
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« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2010, 08:43:30 AM »

Man sentenced in murder, dismemberment of girlfriend
Story Updated: Jun 18, 2010 at 6:21 PM PDT

SEATTLE -- A Gold Bar man was sentenced to prison in the witchcraft-fueled murder and dismemberment of his ex-girlfriend.
On Friday Eric Christensen was sentenced to 37.5 years in prison in the January death of Sherry Harlan.

Christensen, 40 was convicted of first-degree murder earlier this month after jurors rejected his lawyer's argument that the killing was a crime of passion, and not premeditated.

Harlan, 35, was killed sometime between Jan. 2 and 3 by Christensen after Christensen found a text message from another man on her cell phone.

According to court documents, Christensen told police that Harlan had broken a "Wiccan blood oath" she had made to break off a relationship with the other man.

Christiansen told investigators, "In ancient times, people who broke blood oaths were sometimes killed," according to court documents, adding the discovery of the text message made him angry.

After the killing, Christensen dismembered her body, then asked a friend to drive him around the Gold Bar area to help dispose of the woman's remains, prosecutors said. Her burned-out car was found earlier with human remains inside in the Reiter Pit area near Gold Bar.

The defense attorney admitted Christensen killed Harlan, but she pressed the jury to believe that he just snapped. But the prosecutor said it was a cold-blooded, calculated murder.

Harlan's body was cut up into nine pieces. Her skull was found in her car, and Christensen set it on fire to hide evidence.

A close friend of the victim said she used a mouth guard in court in order to withstand the grisly testimony.

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/96695234.html
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