More details in teen death -Blaine girl's body found along the Chehalis Western trail

September 16, 2003


Police say Stephen Kaufman scrambled to dispose of the belongings of a 16-year-old girl he allegedly met on the Internet and later killed.

Kaufman, 43, has been charged with murdering Blaine, Wash. teen Ashley Parks after luring her to Olympia to stay with him where, police say, the two reportedly had a sexual relationship.

Kaufrman was in court Monday for a bail hearing, where a judge ruled that he could be kept in jail without bail.

Stephen Kaufman appeared in court Monday, Sept. 15. He is accused of killing a 16-year-old girl he met on the Internet.
In the meantime, court documents lay out the case police are building against the man, a former high school teacher in Olympia.

Investigators say Kaufman was corresponding with young girls on Internet chat rooms when he met parks online in July.

Parks’ body was found two weeks ago along the Chehalis Western trail, about a mile from Kaufman's apartment.

Based on decomposition, the body of Parks was probably left in the woods several weeks before it was spotted, according to police.

Prosecutors now say a critical piece of evidence is a bloody sweatshirt found at the scene and which police say Kaufman confessed was his even before detectives told them what they had found.

He later recanted his confession.

Nevertheless, police say Parks helped catch her killer. She sent emails to a friend from his apartment. Those emails led detectives right to his front door.

Kaufman taught drafting classes at North Thurston High School for a little more than a year, from September 2001 to December of last year.

He was fired for 'inappropriate and unprofessional communication' with a female student, leaving well before the murder happened.

Still, school officials are stunned.

"All teachers in the state of Washington have to undergo a state patrol and FBI background check. Nothing in his past indicated that he'd be any trouble whatsoever," said Tim McGillivray, a spokesman for North Thurston Public Schools.


Olympia man held in slaying

Associated Press
Skagit Herald

OLYMPIA -- A 43-year-old man has been arrested for investigation into the disappearance and slaying of a Whatcom County teenager.

Thurston County Sheriff's Capt. Dan Kimball said Stephan Kaufman of Olympia was arrested about 5:30 p.m. Friday at his lawyer's office. He was being held in Thurston County Jail for investigation of second-degree murder in the death of Ashley Parks, 16.

Detectives using a search warrant were able to link e-mails the girl sent to her family and friends to an account held in Kaufman's name, Kimball said.

Parks' body was found Aug. 28 just off the Chehalis-Western Trail in Olympia, less than a mile from Kaufman's home.

The teen's family last heard from her in July, when she called to say she was in Olympia to help someone move. Kimball said the girl, who often stayed with friends, was never reported missing.

"It wasn't uncommon for Ashley to not be home or for people to not know where she was at," he said.


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