Forensic anthropologist examines remains found after standoff, fire

Police still guarding Washougal site

By Dave Kern, Columbian assistant metro editor

Published:

Updated: December 11, 2011, 6:30 PM

 

A forensic anthropologist examined remains Sunday in the aftermath of Wednesday’s fire and shootout in Washougal.

Dr. Kathy Taylor, a Ph.D. with the King County Medical Examiner’s Office, was working in the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office in downtown Vancouver, said Clark County sheriff’s Sgt. Kevin Allais, with the major crimes team.

“She examined the remains,” Allais said, declining to be more specific when asked if the remains were from more than one person.

Allais said investigators will meet at 10 a.m. Monday morning with Washougal police.

“It’s an active investigation and it’s progressing,” Allais said Sunday afternoon.

Deputies said Saturday the Washougal house fire and gunfire-filled standoff has been ruled a murder-suicide and that homeowner and suspect Steven Stanbary is believed dead.

Stanbary’s wife, Leona Bolton Stanbary, and her twin sister, Mona Daugherty, also lived at the home at 3275 F Place. Family members have said on Facebook that all three are presumed dead.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office has said heavily burned remains of at least two people have not been positively identified.

“Based upon the totality of information known to detectives at this time, investigators believe strongly that Steve Stanbary is the suspect and that his remains have likely been recovered,” the sheriff’s office said in a press release.

On Sunday, the lot appeared like a scene from an end-of-the world movie. Two Washougal police officers stood like sentries in front of the remains of the rust-red ranch-style house that was built in 1972.

“We’ve got someone stationed here 24 hours a day,” said Officer Jon Cotton, who has been with the Washougal force for 21 years. “We’re going to keep perimeter security for several more days.”

Neighbors’ thoughts

Neighbor Ben Schwartzkopf wandered a half-dozen houses down F Place to take his first look at the place.

“The guy seemed all right to me, and then you find out all these things,” Schwartzkopf said.

Stanbary, a 47-year-old known to be violent and heavily armed, had been under investigation for multiple sex crimes. He was supposed to turn himself in to police the day after the fire and standoff.

Police have not released details about the sex crime investigation against Stanbary.

Jerry and Myrtle Anderson strolled by Sunday afternoon. Their home is just three houses away.

Jerry Anderson said that when the blaze and shooting started, he wanted to leave his house. Then he received a call from police.

“They said stay right in your house. Stay away from the windows and doors,” Jerry Anderson said. The couple have lived in the house for 32 years.

“As far as I know, he was a quiet, neighborly person,” Jerry Anderson said.

“Lee’s sister walked her little dog and every time she said, ‘Hello,’ ” Jerry Anderson said.

Myrtle Anderson said both women always waved when passing the Anderson home.

“It was a surprise, big time,” said a neighbor across the street from the Stanbary lot. He decline to give his name but added, “Something that was not expected, by any means.”

The lot still has police tape in front. There are burned-out hulks of three pickups and appliances, a ruined trailer and much black rubble.

At the base of the mailbox, stand there are 2 pails of spent casings and 20 or more ammunition boxes.

On Dec. 7, Stanbary’s home went up in flames. Neighbors who tried to alert residents inside were met with gunfire, as were responding police and firefighters. The gunman fired from multiple firearms for 90 minutes, keeping firefighters and police at bay, investigators said.

No one outside the house was seriously injured; a Washougal police officer whose patrol car was hit by a round suffered minor injuries from shattered glass.

Arrested in December 1994 after threatening to kill his ex-wife, children and himself, Stanbary was found to have numerous weapons, including AK-47s.

Laura McVicker contributed to this story.