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Kirkland Police hope to crack cold case murder with public's help
Cold Case is one of the most popular shows on TV. But for the Kirkland Police Department and a Kirkland family, one of the city's only outstanding cold cases is all too real and being revisited nearly four years after the original crime. The KPD is asking for the community's help to find a murderer.
"Someone out there has information and they can call the tip line of Crime Stoppers anonymously," said Corp. Phil Goguen, of the KPD.
Kirkland resident John Schuoler, who was 23, was killed between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15 2006 in his first-floor apartment from trauma to his head. No one has been arrested in the case.
The apartment complex, Sunset Shores, is located at 10138 Northeast 64th St. near Lake Washington Boulevard N.E.
"We want anybody who knew John or had contact with him that week and has not talked with us to call us," said Corp. Jack Keesee with the Kirkland Police Department. "They might think the information is insignificant but it might be the turning point."
Schuoler, who went by John LeBar in high school, worked at the Woodmark Hotel. Schuoler was off work on Sept. 14 and spent the day on the computer and went shopping. He and his roommate had people over to their apartment that night, which was a frequent occurrence.
"Their apartment was very popular," said Goguen.
Schuoler was last seen alive in the apartment between 9:30-10 p.m. that night. When his roommate returned home from work the next day he found Schuoler in his bed and unresponsive. The 911 call came into the KPD at 8:20 p.m. There were no signs of forced entry in the apartment and the only thing missing was a hunter green "army style" canvas backpack purchased at REI.
"It was a higher end backpack," said Goguen. "His mother purchased it for him because the straps on other back packs had broken."
Goguen said that anyone who has information about that back pack is urged to contact police.
Goguen and Keesee began working on the case again in November and have uncovered some new evidence.
"We definitely have some persons of interest," said Keesee.
The KPD is attempting to solicit help from the public to put the final pieces of the puzzle together, including a segment on Washington's Most Wanted, which aired Friday. To give information on this crime please call the Kirkland Police Department tip line at 425-587-3515 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.
"My belief of the person being caught is nearing 100 percent since the airing on Washington's Most Wanted and the Seattle PI article," said Schuoler's mother Lani Faye, via e-mail. "The tip line, in my opinion, enables a person who has knowledge of the crime to be able to come forward with the information they have without the threat of repercussions."
For the KPD, this is one of the only active cold cases in the city. Goguen noted that 2006 was not a good year for Kirkland as there were three murders, including Schouler.
Faye is hoping for some closure.
"When the crime first occcurred, I felt like my dad did when he was in World War II. A zero pilot dropped a bomb on a munitions dump that he was near and it literally blew off all his clothes, including his Army boots. He just stood there numb and dumbfounded. That was me - numb and dumbfounded. Now that it is a cold case it's like watching paint dry."
But the ongoing investigation is not easy for Faye to live with.
"It's a 24/7 prolonged agony of anticipation waiting for something to break," said Faye. "Constant anticipation and a constant state of high stress. I've probably aged 10-15 years just from the stress."
Faye is appreciative to the KPD for their continued interest in solving the nearly four-year-old crime.
"I would like to thank the Kirkland Police Department, in particular Detective Phil Goguen and Detective John Kessee for all their efforts and extensive collaboration with other departments in trying to solve my son's murder," said Faye. "I also would like to thank Mike Ursino and John Haslip for freeing up some time so that Phil and Jack could hit this case hard one more time. I believe our police force makes this city one of the safest cities to live in. As a matter of fact, the initial reason we had moved to Kirkland was due to their police department. At that time Kirkland was ranked number one of the safest cities to live in Washington State."