Sign up to our free US news bulletin sent straight to your inbox each weekday morning
Sign up to our free morning US email news bulletin
Police have identified the suspect charged with killing a married couple who went missing in Washington state last week.
Officers arrested 40-year-old Timothy Burke of Olympia on 17 November, days after the disappearance of Karen Koep, a local chiropractor, and her husband Davido. The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office said the suspect was known to the couple but did not specify how. in a statement. Records show Mr Burke is facing charges of first-degree kidnapping and first-degree murder, and police confirmed his identity to NBC News on Saturday.
The case — which began as an investigation into the couple’s “suspicious” disappearance, per earlier statements — has now turned into a murder investigation. The sheriff’s office said investigators believe “the couple did not survive the attack at their residence”.
Koep’s sister, Pauline Dutton, has told multiple outlets, including NBC News, that Mr Burke was a tenant on one of the multiple rental properties the couple owned. She said he did construction work for Davido in lieu of paying rent.
The sheriff’s office did not immediately return The Independent’s request for comment on Mr Burke’s relationship to the couple.
Authorities said they first discovered the couple were missing on 13 November, after officers performed a welfare check for a person who did not show up for work. Officers later found the couple’s car in a nearby town.
Ms Dutton told NBC News she did not believe the couple left their home willingly.
“I know that they didn’t walk away from their house on their own, let’s put it that way,” Ms Dutton told the outlet on 17 November. “They didn’t just walk out of there. They’re not in Bora Bora having a vacation. They are missing, and I don’t think they went willingly.”
There was typically “some drama with the tenants,” Ms Dutton later told NBC News, who also said she was unaware of any problems the couple were having right before their disappearance.