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July 3, 2013 at 6:20 AM

The jigsaw puzzle of finding who shot Molly Conley

Reporting and commenting on the news has put me at odds with law enforcement on occasion.  I have always been mindful and respectful of the challenges of police work, but circumstances can overtake those perceptions.

Other times, impressive work must be acknowledged. The turnaround by the Seattle Police Department in crowd-control tactics between the 2012 and 2013 May Day parades was noteworthy, and so noted.

This preamble is leading to a journalistic tip of the hat to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department for the work behind the arrest of a suspect in the shooting death of 15-year-old girl out for a walk with friends on a Lake Stevens road.

The guilt or innocence of the suspect remains to be explored in court, and those words and findings are defined in the law.

What the skills of the investigators have done, however, is provide an emotional respite for the Lake Stevens and Marysville communities. They suffered a series of drive-by shootings that damaged homes, endangered residents, and, most tragically, claimed a young innocent life. Someone is responsible, and must held accountable.

Detectives put together the pieces of a fragmented puzzle - gun records, paint chips and time lines  -  to build a case that will be presented and tested in court before a judge and jury, with full legal representation for both the man charged and the public. All as we want and expect.

Someone committed the crimes, and hard work and perseverance point in a direction that bears scrutiny.

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