TUMWATER, Wash. (AP) — Police discovered a 6-year-old boy dead in a home with a plastic bag over his head Tuesday after authorities say his parents were found dead in a car following a high-speed chase.
The boy was found when investigators went to the couple’s Spanaway home to check on him and his 10-year-old half sister, who was later found safe with her biological father in Redmond, Ore., said Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer.
Washington State Patrol troopers said the 38-year-old man in the car was fleeing from a trooper and shot himself in the head after his car spun out on Interstate 5 at Tumwater, about 60 miles south of Seattle.
Troopers also found the body of a 38-year-old woman in the car. The state patrol initially reported the woman appeared emaciated and that she had not been shot.
Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock later said she had been shot once in the head. Warnock said Tuesday night that he believes the driver “probably shot her sometime during the pursuit. Theres no evidence she was shot at the house.”
The coroner identified the couple as David Stewart and Kristy Sampels. They lived together in Spanaway, where more than a dozen people held an impromptu candlelight vigil Tuesday night in front of their home.
A Pierce County medical examiner’s spokesman declined to identify the boy.
Stewart was an active soldier at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, base spokeswoman Catherine Caruso said.
The 10-mile chase began just before 6 a.m. when a car going about 85 mph passed a marked patrol car, said patrol spokesman Guy Gill. The trooper pursued the car as spike strips were deployed, shredding the car’s tires. The driver sped on, later losing control and colliding with a concrete barrier.
Gill said the trooper saw the driver raise a hand to his head, then heard a shot and saw the driver slump over.