One of the things I was most proud of during my time in SPD Homicide was how we treated visiting agencies when they came to Seattle and needed help.
We had an unwritten policy: Help the visiting agency by working the case with them as though it was your own.
I made many friends, most of which I still have today, by doing just that.
In the early 2000s, detectives from the Wichita, Kansas police department came to Seattle. They were investigating a no-body domestic violence murder of a woman there. The woman’s boyfriend had disappeared before being found unconscious on the shore of Puget Sound in Discovery Park. He’d been taken to Harborview Medical Center and admitted to the Intensive Care Unit.
The Wichita detectives flew to Seattle on a four-passenger prop plane belonging to the local sheriff’s office, flying in hops to Seattle and landing in various places to refuel.
Not familiar with Seattle, they landed at SeaTac airport on a windy and rainy evening between incoming passenger jets instead of heading to Boeing Field. Later, they described the landing to me as harrowing.
I met them in the Homicide office on the 7th floor of police headquarters.
One of the detectives I met was Kelly Otis. He and I became friends and continue to be so today. Kelly was involved in the BTK serial killings in Wichita and later took part in the arrest of Dennis Rader for those killings.
After we discussed what they needed, I took them to the site in Discovery Park, where their suspect had been found. It was a beautiful sunny day. They were amazed at the beauty.
Later I drove them to Harborview.
We went to the ICU there. A young female resident was in the unit when I approached.
“These detectives,” I told her, “are from a star named Kansas. They’ve come to the Emerald City in search of answers.”
She stared at me for a moment before laughing. She answered all their questions.
Shortly after that, they received word that the suspect’s car was located in Colorado. The victim’s body was in the trunk.
The plane they flew in on had been moved to Boeing Field. I drove them there so they could begin their hops to Denver.