Woman found dead at Camano Island bunker was beheaded; person of interest sought
CAMANO ISLAND, Wash. -- A 26-year-old woman who was found dead near a bunker on the south end of Camano Island was decapitated, and a person of interest has been identified in connection with the case, the Island County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday.
Deputies want to question 34-year-old Jacob Gonzales, a 5 foot, 9 inch man of Hispanic race who weighs 150 pounds and has black hair with hazel eyes, investigators said. Gonzales is not a suspect, but he's considered a person of interest in the case, investigators said.
Gonzales was originally believed to be driving a green 1990 Mitsubishi Montero but police have since located that vehicle and it no longer belonged Gonzales. Based on tips, police believe he's instead driving a silver sedan with unknown plates. Deputies think he may be heading to central or southern California. He should be considered armed and dangerous, they added.
The body of Katherine Cunningham was discovered Saturday next to a bunker on a piece of property off Tamarack Lane. The bunker, which had been dug into a hillside, contained "a cache of supplies, firearms and ammunition," deputies said. The items were seized.
Investigators believe Cunningham was targeted and that her death was not a random act, deputies said. Her death occurred at least several days before her body was discovered, they added.
"It’s in every conversation we’ve had at the store the last few days," said Lori, who owns a store on the island. Cunningham was a frequent visitor to Lori's store.
"Just a sweet young girl. And we knew her as Kat whenever she would come in," Lori told KOMO News on Wednesday. "Now, seeing the victim… it brings it more real that ‘Oh my gosh, this really happened to somebody in our community. And it’s scary.’ And I want this person of interest caught."
Investigators believe Gonzales may have been staying in a trailer on the Tamarack Lane property with Cunningham or used the trailer to store supplies, Island County Sheriff Mark Brown told KOMO News. Brown said he believes a couple of people looking to possibly buy the property found Cunningham's body near the bunker.
Anyone with information about Gonzales or his recent whereabouts is asked to contact their local police and/or Detective Ed Wallace via the ICOM dispatch center at (360) 679-9567 or Tips@co.island.wa.us.