A Hoquiam woman has been arrested in connection with a homicide investigation over the weekend, the county coroner says someone stabbed 95-year-old Robert Harmon in the neck and head before he died, his daughter discovered him Sunday afternoon.
Police Chief Jeff Myers said the 31-year-old woman was arrested Sunday and held overnight as a person of interest. “Early during the course of the investigation a neighbor reported an incident that had occurred Friday night, we started following up on those leads and we’re confident that we have some very solid information and evidence that points to some suspects.”
The woman will be transferred to the Grays Harbor County Jail today as a suspect.
Myers said Harmon didn’t show up for coffee with friends over the weekend, so his daughter and a friend went to his home at the corner of Center Street and Bluff Alley Sunday,
“Officers responded to this residence. A 95-year-old resident hadn’t been seen for a day, didn’t show up for coffee. So a friend and the homeowner’s daughter came to check on him and discovered that he was injured, or they believed injured.”
It’s possible the man interrupted a burglary at his home, “Sgt. Krohn arrived at the scene, was the first officer here, and discovered that the male was in fact deceased and it appeared to be a homicide.”
Myers said in a press release Monday afternoon that detectives from the Lewis County Sheriff’s Department responded last night with a “FARO” laser crime scene scanner to process the exterior and interior of the victim’s house. A Hoquiam officer remained at the scene all night to hold the home pursuant to a search warrant until technicians from the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory could arrive this morning to assist in collecting latent evidence.
Investigators spent most of last night and this morning pursuing active leads in the investigation. Several search warrants were secured and served during the course of the investigation.
As the case unfolded, a 31-year old female neighbor of the victim (who was a person of interest last night) was arrested today by detectives for murder. The suspect has been cooperative with investigators and has been interviewed several times. Additional evidence related to the homicide was recovered today near Aberdeen with the assistance of a ladder truck from the Aberdeen Fire Department.
At this time, it appears this was not a random crime. Information indicates the suspect knew the victim and may have occasionally mowed his lawn. Investigators are also gathering evidence the suspect may have recently stolen checks from the suspect and had attempted to cash them. It would appear the suspect may have a substance abuse problem.
Technicians from the WSP Crime Lab will continue to process the scene through the day. The suspect will be later transferred from the Hoquiam City Jail and booked in the Grays Harbor County Jail on murder charges.
In speaking with the daughter of the victim, she indicated her father was a merchant marine during World War II. He was in heavy construction for most of his life and worked on several bridge projects around Grays Harbor. Although 95-years old, the victim still lived alone, drove a vehicle and was just recently up a ladder cleaning his own gutters. She described her father as smart, hardworking and strong.
The Hoquiam Police Department offers the family of the victim our deepest condolences on their loss. There is no way to explain to a family why these crimes happen, but we will do our best to investigate every aspect of this case and present the information to the County Prosecutor for the appropriate charges.
Grays Harbor County Coroner Lane Youmans said today that the autopsy also showed signs of blunt force injuries to the head.
Myers said the investigation continues, and expressed gratitude to the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office, Lewis County crime scene mapping team, and the Washington State Patrol mobile crime lab for their assistance.
Myers said in a press release last night “This is the second homicide in Hoquiam in less than a month and we greatly appreciate the assistance and resources of our fellow agencies in this investigation.”