A 45-year-old man accused of killing a missing Thurston County couple is being held in jail without bail.
Timothy Burke attended his preliminary appearance in Thurston County Superior Court on Monday. Deputies booked him into the county jail Friday on suspicion of first-degree murder and kidnapping.
Law enforcement allege Burke killed Karen A. Koep and her husband, Davido, most likely in their Lake Forest home between Long Lake and Marvin Road. Newly released court records indicate deputies visited the home for a welfare check on Nov. 13 and found significant amounts of blood and other evidence but no bodies.
Investigators later found Koep’s missing vehicle and another vehicle belonging to Burke, both of which contained blood, said Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer Lord. The couple’s whereabouts remained unknown as of Monday.
“It’s the state’s perspective, based on the quantities of blood and the opinions of the professionals involved in the determination of facts and evidence in this case, that murder is the appropriate charge rather than assault,” Lord said.
Lord asked Skinder to deny bail for Burke, arguing he presented a danger to the community and may choose to flee the area if released.
But public defense attorney Kevin Griffin objected to no bail, saying Burke has no past criminal convictions and has no known history of violence.
“This is a gentleman who’s lived his entire life in the community without causing any problems,” Griffin said. “That does not support a finding that he has a likelihood of committing a violent offense while this case is pending.”
Judge John C. Skinder set the no-bail hold Monday after finding probable cause for two counts of first-degree murder. In doing so, he reasoned that there is a substantial risk Burke may commit another violent crime.
“These allegations alone, based upon the nature of the allegations, does give the court the ability to find by clear and convincing evidence that there is a propensity for violence that creates a substantial likelihood of danger to the community or any person,” Skinder said.
Burke has one other open case in Thurston County District Court from this year. Court records indicate he is charged with malicious mischief in that case.
Family members of the couple attended Monday’s hearing in person. Skinder gave them an opportunity to address the court after making his rulings, but they declined to speak. Lord said they agreed with his rulings.
“This is an incredibly heavy day and a somber day and I can see it on all of you,” Skinder said. “I’m very sorry you are here but I appreciate that you came and you wanted to be part of this process.”
Before the hearing ended, Skinder was met with an outburst from an unnamed observer on Zoom.
“Tell him to give that family some closure and tell them where the bodies are,” the observer said.
A probable cause statement describes the investigation into the alleged crimes from the perspective of law enforcement.
A friend of Koep’s reportedly requested the welfare check after Koep did not show up to work. The friend reported that no one had heard from Koep or her husband since Nov. 10.
No one answered when deputies checked on the home. The doors and windows were locked and the blinds were drawn, according to court records. Deputies reported entering through the garage after receiving an access code.
Inside the home, deputies found “two very large blood stains” in the living room and “obvious signs” that someone attempted to clean-up the blood, according to the probable cause statement. A section of the dry wall also appeared to have been removed.
Drag marks and blood splatter left a trail to the garage where deputies believe Koep’s missing vehicle would have been.
Investigators also found that someone had tried to drill into the locks on each exterior entrance to the home as well as Davido’s truck, which remained in the driveway. Fresh metal shavings were just underneath each door lock.
The statement says a detective asked an FBI agent to track the couple’s cell phones, but their phones appeared to have been turned off.
During the course of the investigation, two neighbors told deputies they believed they heard gunshots around 8-9 p.m. on either Nov. 10 or 11.
Detectives learned that Davido rented space on a rural property on Stedman Road to several people, one of which was Burke.
Burke reportedly had called law enforcement to the home many times, including when someone had burned down his trailer.
A friend of Davido’s told detectives he believed Davido had intended to evict Burke. On Nov. 11, the statement says a detective received a partially completed eviction notice for Burke that was written by Davido.
That same day, the detective learned Burke reported to law enforcement on Sept. 13 that Davido was plotting to come up with a story to get him evicted. On Nov. 17, the detective uncovered numerous emails in which Burke appeared suspicious of Davido and viewed him negatively.
Video surveillance allegedly caught a man believed to be Burke using David’s credit card at two banks on Nov. 12. Law enforcement then began searching for Burke and his vehicle, which also appeared in the video.
Lacey police reportedly found Koep’s missing vehicle at 9 p.m. Nov. 13, but it was unoccupied. A detective reported seeing human hair inside the car and blood in the trunk, according to the probably cause statement.
An hour later, Lacey police located Burke with his vehicle and recovered a semi-automatic pistol from his right pants pocket. The statement says Burke was arrested for first-degree identity theft but he was released on Nov. 14 because no probable cause had been established.
Inside Burke’s vehicle, court records say investigators found blood stains as well as mixed .45-caliber bullets that matched some of the fired bullets at the couple’s home. The vehicle reportedly appeared to be covered in mud and vegetation.
Investigators also found fired .45-caliber shell casings and a fired .45-caliber bullet in Koep’s car. Court records say this was notable because no shell casing had been found at the couple’s home and the dry wall was damaged, causing investigators to believe Burke had removed these items.
On Nov. 17, investigators received a ballistic examination report that determined Burke’s firearm had been used to fire the casings that law enforcement believed had been taken from the couple’s home.
Later that day, the statement says law enforcement found Burke hiding by a trail and arrested him.