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19-year-old Kirkland woman's death ruled a homicide; person of interest identified

Scarlett Paxton, 19 - Contributed
Scarlett Paxton, 19
— image credit: Contributed

Kirkland Police are now investigating the death of a 19-year-old woman in the Juanita neighborhood of Kirkland as a homicide.

Police have also identified a person of interest in the death of Scarlett Paxton, who was found by her boyfriend early Wednesday morning with a neck wound and later died in an ambulance, police said.

Due to the confidentiality of the investigation, police are not releasing the person's identity. Police said the person of interest is currently in custody at another jurisdiction on unrelated charges. Kirkland detectives also believe there is no threat to the community and continue their investigation.

"The King County Medical Examiner has now officially ruled Paxton’s death as a homicide caused by sharp forced injury to her neck," said Mike Murray, operations lieutenant for the Kirkland Police Department.

Paxton's boyfriend is only considered a witness in the case, said police.

Kirkland police obtained a search warrant on Wednesday for the woman's apartment and the surrounding area.

"During the initial search, a knife was located, but it remains unknown at this time if this knife was used in the commission of the crime," said Murray, noting the knife was found on the landing of her second-story apartment unit.

Kirkland police detectives continue their investigation with the assistance of the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab.

"We usually don't get a lot of scenes like this here in Kirkland, fortunately," Murray added.

The woman’s boyfriend called 911 at approximately 2:50 a.m. from the Hidden Firs apartment complex in the North Juanita neighborhood, police said. The apartment is located in the 13300 block of 100th Ave. N.E.

The woman was still alive when emergency personnel arrived, but died in the ambulance from her wound on the side of her neck, said Murray.

Police said on Wednesday that they had found possible evidence near two dumpsters behind the Juanita Albertson's, which was also taped off. The Washington State Crime Lab is currently processing the evidence.

Authorities also canvassed the apartment building on Wednesday morning, which included knocking on doors and looking for potential witnesses.

Paxton was a BEST High School graduate.

A Scarlett Paxton Memorial page was set up on Facebook Wednesday and had 135 "likes" by 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

The main photo for the page contains a quote reading: "You always made me laugh, you always made me smile and always listened. You are and were a great friend. Rest in peace I love you and miss you."

"It just makes my chest hurt to think I hadn't talked to her for about three years, and now this happens," posted Kimberly Philio. "If I could go back, we'd still be hanging out all the time and be really close. I love you, Scarlett. You were beautiful, you were kind, and you will be missed."

Connie Mathews posted: "Thank you, Scarlett, for being in my life. Words can't express how grateful I am to have met you."

Fourteen other people posted comments and expressed sorrow for the woman.

A Candlelight Memorial for Paxton was held Thursday at the Starbucks on 100th St. near Juanita Elementary, according to the website.

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