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Man who lost son to drug overdose is suspected of killing son's girlfriend

Man under arrest after murder in Mountlake Terrace

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, Wash. -- Five hours went by before a Mountlake Terrace man reported he physically assaulted a woman, according to police.

He told officers they had an argument and it turned physical.

Police say the man claimed it started in his house in the 23600 block of 53rd Avenue West and moved outside when she ran out of his home, then he hit her second time with a stick-like object outside his house, where she fell to the ground on his driveway.

He left her there, went to bed, and about five hours later woke up and found her still in his driveway, according to investigators.

By then it was after midnight Monday morning and that's when he called 911 to reported the physical assault from earlier in the evening, and told the operator the victim was lying unconscious in his driveway, according to police.

When police found her, she was dead with what officers described as "massive head trauma", and was surrounded by a pool of blood.

Mountlake Terrace police confirmed to KOMO News the suspect is David Nieuwenhuis, after we found a man with that name had been booked into the Snohomish County Jail Monday morning. Mountlake Terrace Police Deputy Chief Pete Caw said Nieuwenhuis told investigators that he hit the woman twice with what Caw described as a "carved club."

Caw said the man told police he hit the woman after she hit him with an iPad, but a spokesman for Mountlake Terrace Police said officers found no evidence of that from the iPad they found inside the suspect's rental home.

Nieuwenhuis told detectives the victim came to the house Saturday afternoon around 4 p.m. to collect some of her belongings as she and the suspect's late son were boyfriend and girlfriend and had been living with him for about a year at his Mountlake Terrace home, according to Caw.

Police said he told them he and 29-year-old woman got into an argument around 7 p.m. over his son's death.

He told police his son died last week from a drug overdose and got into an argument with the girlfriend, because he felt she didn't do enough to prevent his son's death.

"I'm just in total shock," said backyard neighbor Rick Jones, whose family rents a home to him and watches Seahawks games with him regularly. "I've known him for 15 years."

Neighbors on both sides of the suspect's home described his arrest as out of character and shocking, and said he struggled with the death of his son and lost his wife who died around five years ago.

"I really believe it's just over his son dying and all that," said next door neighbor Jim Danson, who's lived on the street for more than 50 years. "I've never seen him being violent."

Court records list Nieuwenhuis as a registered sex offender.

"He's always been kind and compassionate, nice neighbor and friend," Jones said. "I considered him a friend. I've, never seen anything bad, never seen him get angry or lose his temper anything."

Nieuwenhuis has been booked on suspicion of Domestic Violence Murder in the second degree and could go before a judge as early as Tuesday.

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