Local woman speaks against killer's possible parole

She suspects him in her sister's 1971 disappearance

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

Published:

 

A parole board is again considering whether a convicted killer suspected of slaying several Clark County women in the 1970s will remain in prison.

Warren L. Forrest, 64, of Battle Ground is eligible for parole on March 16. The Washington Indeterminate Sentence Review Board has until that date to decide whether he will be paroled.

As part of that process, the board's four members on Monday heard from one of Forrest's surviving victims and family members of other girls he's suspected of killing. All are opposed to Forrest's release or a less-restrictive placement.

"There is no way a guy like that deserves to even think about leaving prison," said Starr Lara, sister of one of the victims Forrest is suspected of killing. She spoke before the parole board on Monday.

Her sister, Jamie Grissim, was a 16-year-old student at Fort Vancouver High School when she disappeared Dec. 7, 1971. She has never been found and hers remains the oldest missing person's case in Clark County, according to the sheriff's office.

Two parole board members are scheduled to meet with Forrest on Nov. 5 and then make a recommendation on whether he should remain in prison, said Robin Riley, assistant to the board chair. The board will decide no sooner than four weeks after his hearing, and the decision could take longer than that, Riley said.

The board denied him parole in April 2011 because of the brutality of the crimes and because he hadn't met the standard of rehabilitation.

Nine people met with the board Monday at its headquarters in Lacey, Riley said.

"It's very difficult, and I find the second time, I'm more and more angry with him because he has the chance to tell the truth," Lara said. "I could forgive him a lot of things. I know he has a lot of mental health issues. But he knows the truth, and he's deliberately withholding the truth because he thinks he can get out, and that I can't forgive him for."

Lara still can't talk about her sister without choking back tears. They were removed from their mother's home and placed in foster care together when Grissim was 5 and Lara was 3, Lara said.

"I looked up to her (Grissim) like a mother and big sister, everything," Lara said. "She was my protector. I was her admirer. She could do no wrong in my eyes. That must have been a big burden for her because she was so young."

Among the group that met with the board Monday was one of Forrest's two surviving victims. She is now 54 years old. It was the first time she had addressed the parole board, Lara said.

Forrest allegedly abducted her in July 1974 in Ridgefield when she was 15. He held her at knife point, assaulted her and drove her to the Tukes Mountain area, according to sheriff's documents. There, he allegedly hogtied her to a tree, just 100 feet away from the grave of Krista Blake, whom Forrest killed earlier that month. He then left her at the location, saying he would return later. She was able to chew through her bindings and escape.

She was unable to positively identify Forrest.

Forrest later pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity for the kidnapping, rape and stabbing of the other survivor, who was attacked at Lacamas Lake in Camas. He spent three years at Western State Hospital near Tacoma for the crimes at the lake.

Investigators have said they believe Forrest is behind the disappearance of at least six young women in Clark County between March 1972 and October 1974.

However, the parole board told family members that Forrest has reportedly confessed to his therapist that he had a total of 13 victims, Lara said.

He was convicted of only Blake's homicide and received a life sentence in 1979. His conviction allowed for the possibility of parole.

All of the homicides and Grissim's missing person's case remain under investigation, according to the sheriff's office.

Forrest is an Army veteran and a former Clark County parks employee. The graves of multiple victims were found in or near Clark County parks.