The suspect in the disappearance of a Washington couple who went missing from their home last week and may be dead was a tenant who was about to be evicted, the sister of the missing woman said Monday.
Karen Koep and her husband, Davido, have been missing for a week and the investigation into their disappearance continues. The sheriff’s office said in a Friday news release the couple is believed to be dead.
Thurston County Sheriff’s Office deputies have arrested Timothy Burke in connection to the case, Lt. Mike Brooks told CNN on Monday.
Burke worked at the couple’s rental property in exchange for housing and was about to be evicted, according to Koep’s sister, Pauline Dutton.
Dutton wasn’t aware of any previous incidents between Burke and the couple, but believed they were in the process of having him evicted from their rental property where he worked in exchange for housing.
“I believe that my brother-in-law was in the process of evicting Timothy,” Dutton said. “He gave him a lot of chances and was really kind to him.”
Burke appeared in court Monday for a preliminary hearing, where he was informed of the first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping charges against him, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Facebook page. He was denied bail.
CNN has reached out to Burke’s attorney for comment.
Deputies discovered the couple missing from their Lake Forest Development home on November 13 while conducting a welfare check after Koep didn’t show up for work, police said.
Koep worked at a chiropractor clinic and was always prompt, which raised suspicion when she hadn’t arrived at her usual time of 5 a.m., Dutton said.
“She was a workaholic and very dedicated to all her patients,” Dutton said.
Dutton told CNN authorities said the crime scene was violent. “There was blood in the house, and they were gone,” she said.
Koep’s car was later found at a trailhead a few miles away from their home.
Dutton said to honor her sister and brother-in-law, she was encouraging everyone to smile at a stranger.
“Do something where you engage with your community and give back. I want to be more like them,” she said.
Thurston County is south of Seattle, and home to Olympia, the state capital.