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February 14, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Woman arrested after human remains found in Arlington

UPDATE 2:30 p.m.

An Arlington woman is being held at the Snohomish County Jail after human remains, believed to be those of her ex-husband, were found buried on her property.

Identification of the remains and a cause of death are still pending release by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office. On Thursday, an anthropologist from the King County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed that the remains, found in a buried concrete slab, are human, according to a probable-cause affidavit filed in Snohomish County Superior Court.

Michele Louise Donohue, 48, was arrested Thursday for investigation of second-degree murder. Donohue’s husband, whose name has not been released, went missing in 2004. When Donohue filed for divorce in 2005, she claimed that he ran off with a young red-headed woman. In the divorce, she received the Arlington house, a lot next to the house, all personal property, eight vehicles, 98 savings bonds, Boeing stock, half of his retirement and other investments, the affidavit said.

But Dec. 26, a man came forward to report that he heard that a body was buried on the rural property, located in the 8100 block of Wade Road.

Working with Snohomish County sheriff’s investigators, the man wore a concealed wire when he talked to a man he knew who lives on Donohue’s property. Donohue’s tenant told the informant that a few years ago he helped Donohue’s new husband, Joel, and another man move bags containing a dismembered body from beneath a dirt pile. They reburied it in the concrete slab. When confronted by deputies, the tenant confirmed what they heard on the recording, the affidavit said.

Deputies obtained a warrant and on Thursday they searched Donohue’s property and spoke with her and her husband, Joel Donohue.

Joel Donohue told investigators that his wife informed him she had stabbed her ex-husband. He said they encased the body in concrete “so that ground-penetrating radar would not find it,” the affidavit said.

Joel Donohue, his best friend and the tenant searched the Internet for tips on “how to dispose of a body” before they reburied the man, the affidavit said.

When deputies spoke with Michele Donohue, she claimed that her ex-husband had left her. Deputies said she “acted in disbelief” when they told her they had dug up a body on her property, the affidavit said. She denied killing anyone and requested an attorney.

In addition to the remains, detectives discovered what appeared to be a chop shop at the Arlington location.

The positive identification of the remains, as well as cause and manner of death, will be determined by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: death investigation, Snohomish County Sheriff's Office


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