Women slain on trail appear to be Seattle librarian, daughter
10:17 PM PDT on Thursday, July 13, 2006
KING5.com Staff and Wire Reports
SEATTLE – The two women slain while hiking near Mount Pilchuck on Tuesday appear to be a Seattle Public Schools librarian and her daughter.
Official identification is expected to be made by Snohomish County authorities Thursday night, but a memorial created outside the Alternative Elementary at Decatur in Seattle and a statement released by the librarian's husband suggest that the victims are Mary Cooper, 56, and her daughter Susanna Stodden, 27.
In a time of shock and grief, we would like to focus on the tremendous positive legacy left by this extraordinary mother and daughter. As a librarian, teacher, activist, neighbor, friend, and mother, Mary touched the lives of countless people. Susanna was dedicated to nurturing positive relationsips between children and the natural world, and her commitment to peace was evident in her compassionate nature. Like her mother, she lived her life in service to what she believed. Passion for the outdoors was intrinsic to their lives, and family trips to the Cascades were a weekly occurrence. Susanna's little sisters, Elisa (24) and Joanna (21), follow in her footsteps and also teach and study environmental education. Husband and father David Stodden and the community left by these two amazing women, wish to express their gratitude for the support and love offered on behalf of Mary and Susanna. In their memory, may people continue tro walk the trails in peace and without fear.
A memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. Sunday, July 23, at Town Hall, 1119 8th, Seattle
The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be sent:
"In memory of Mary Cooper"
Seattle Public Library Foundation
10004th Ave., Seattle, WA 98104
For Children's Literacy Programs
In memory of Susanna Stodden
Washington Trails Association
2019 3rd Ave. Suite 100, Seattle, WA 98121
Tel. 206-625-1367 - www.wta.org
A statement faxed to KING 5 by Cooper's husband, David Stodden, includes information about a memorial service planned for July 23 and talks about the pair's love of hiking.
It reads in part:
"As a librarian, teacher, activist, neighbor, friend, and mother, Mary touched the lives of countless people. Susanna was dedicated to nurturing positive relationships between children and the natural world, and her commitment to peace was evident in her compassionate nature. Like her mother, she lived her life in service to what she believed. Passion for the outdoors was intrinsic to their lives, and family trips to the Cascades were a weekly occurrence."
Autopsies were being performed Thursday on the women whose bodies were found dead on a popular Mount Pilchuck-area trail. Authorities say the two were killed within 4-1/2 hours of when their bodies were found.
Snohomish County sheriff's Deputy Rich Niebusch said Wednesday the cause of death was "homicidal violence" and would not be more specific.
He described the pair as a woman in her 40's and another in her 20's. The Seattle Times, citing a source close to the investigation, reported that they were mother and daughter from Seattle, and that they had been shot.
There was no immediate indication of who might have been responsible, Niebusch said.
The sheriff's department is asking that anyone who was in the Pinnacle Lake, Bear Lake, Boardman Lake or Ashland Lake areas of the Mount Baker National Forest on or shortly before Tuesday, who may have relevant information is urged to contact the tip line. The department received about 30 tips Wednesday night.
Investigators hoped to find some clues in a Dodge Caravan found at the trailhead. It apparently belonged to one of the victims, Niebusch said.
The women were last seen alive about 10 a.m. Tuesday and their bodies were found about two miles along the trail to Pinnacle Lake by a passer-by who hiked out to report the discovery at 2:30 p.m., Niebusch said. The area is northeast of Everett and south of Verlot in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
Deputies were trying to ease campers' and hikers' fears.
"We're going to step up our patrols out there and do what we can, but you have to again use reasonable precautions," said Niebusch.
Investigators completed their work at the scene Wednesday and carried the bodies to the nearest road by foot because bad weather prevented use of a helicopter.
If you were hiking in the area Tuesday and think you might have seen something, call the tipline at (425) 388-3845.