Serial cat killer terrorizes Thurston County

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Chelsea Mancilla, Guest Writer

 

Speeding cars, predatory animals, and disease are not the only things pet owners should be concerned about this year. Since February, the mutilated bodies of 13 cats have been gruesomely displayed in public parks and front yards across Thurston County. Authorities have also connected the past month’s events to an incident from last October. Locations have included Decatur Woods Park in Olympia, Wash., Andrews Methodist Church on School Street in Lacey, Wash., and the Land Yach Harbor RV park on Steilacoom Road. Three cases in the Clearbrook Community of Lacey are not consistent, which leads investigators to believe they may not have been done by the same person.

The killer’s methods have demonstrated surgical precision, which is not typical of a random animal attack. The perpetrator uses a sharp blade, possibly a scalpel or a steak knife. The most recent victim was found on Thursday Aug. 30, on Steilacoom Road near Salmon Lane.

The authorities have also connected these recent events to a case in Port Angeles, Wash., where there is still a $5,000 reward being offered for information leading to the arrest of the criminal. In Thurston County, local associations, including Pasado’s Safe Haven, the Humane Society of the United States, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are each offering a reward for information that could lead to the capture of the culprit. Pasado’s Safe Haven is accepting donations from the public as well. The reward has been steadily increasing by the hundreds as concerned community members donate.

Authorities and the public are fearful that the criminal’s actions could escalate into attacking larger animals, or possibly people. As of now, the malefactor’s crimes include animal cruelty in the first degree, which is a Class C felony in the United States. In Washington, the maximum sentence for a felony animal offense is five years and $10,000 for someone’s first conviction. In 2015, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill that increased the charges for those convicted of killing or stealing pets.

Local authorities, including Erica Johnson, the lead animal cruelty investigator, have been going door-to-door to warn pet owners and request that pets are kept inside and to practice vigilance. In Olympia, neighbors have come together in solidarity and started foot patrols in hopes of keeping the community’s cats safe. As this case has developed, major newspapers such as the New York Times, Fox News, and the Huffington Post have picked up the story. The cat killer of Washington is becoming a national headline, which may fuel the criminal’s activities. We can only hope that the six-member investigation team will crack the case.

Amongst the gruesome deaths, there is a shred of hope. Olly, an unfortunate victim of this feline killer, may have scratched the culprit and collected DNA in her claws, but it has not been established if this has given the authorities a successful lead.

In a comment to Kiro 7, Johnson said “This has been the worst case of serial animal mutilation in my career, and I’ve been doing this a long time.”

It has been requested that pets are kept indoors, especially in the evening after 11 p.m. because it is believed that the perpetrator is most likely to strike between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Cats that are extremely friendly are the perfect victims, unfortunately. However, it is conceivable that the perpetrator is using bait or catching the cats by surprise.

The community is strongly encouraged to be as self-aware as possible. Tips should be reported as soon as possible to Animal Services at 360-352-2510. Anyone can call the non-emergency line at the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office at 360 704-2740. There is currently a constantly growing $46,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the perpetrator.

 

Date Location Jurisdiction
October 27, 2017 Mill Ct SE (A) Thurston County Sheriff’s Office
July 4, 2018 Decatur St SW in Decatur Park, Olympia (B) Olympia PD
July 26th 5335 Yelm Hwy at Capitol City Golf Course (C) Thurston County Sheriff’s Office
August 2nd Langridge Drive SW (D) Olympia PD
August 5th 1705 6th Avenue SE (E) Olympia PD
August 7th 29th Avenue SW (F) Tumwater PD
August 15th Yonkers Dr SE and Clearbrook Dr SE in open field (G) Lacey PD
August 15th 606 North St (H) Tumwater PD
August 17th 1335 Woodglen St SE (I) Thurston County Sheriff’s Office
August 20th Lilly Rd and Plummer Rd SE (J) Olympia PD
August 22nd Land Yacht Harbor RV Park on Steilacoom Rd. SE (K) Thurston County’s Sheriff’s Office
August 22nd 540 School St SE at St Andrew’s United Methodist Church (L) Thurston County’s Sheriff’s Office
August 25th 3801 Pacific Avenue SE (M) Olympia PD
August 28th Steilacoom Rd and Salmon Ln (N) Thurston County’s Sheriff’s Office

 

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