By Emily Gillespie
Columbian staff writer
Suspected Clark County serial killer Warren Forrest has been denied parole, according to a decision announced Thursday by the Washington Indeterminate Sentence Review Board.
Forrest, 64, of Battle Ground, is serving a life sentence at the Washington Department of Corrections’ Monroe Complex for the 1974 death of Krista Blake, a 20-year-old Vancouver woman.
Parole board members wrote in their decision that they denied Forrest’s release because he remains a suspect in several unsolved missing persons cases. They described him as “one of the most dangerous offenders under our jurisdiction.”
Forrest will not be considered for release again until July 2017.
Investigators have long believed Forrest was behind the disappearances of at least six women between March 1972 and October 1974.
The decision states that “Mr. Forrest disclosed having ‘numerous unadjudicated victims who might be living or dead,’ ” and that the offenses spanned four states.
Forrest is an Army veteran and a former Clark County parks employee. The graves of multiple victims, all women, were found in or near Clark County parks.
During his time in a sex offender treatment program, Forrest showed unwillingness to fully disclose due to “self-preservation,” according to the written decision.
“It is understandable that Mr. Forrest is reluctant to be more forthcoming about other criminal behavior for fear of additional prosecution,” parole board members wrote in the decision.
At one point, Forrest “explained that the shortest period of time between offending was probably five days, and could have been sooner if he had found a victim to offend in a shorter period of time.”
Also during the treatment, Forrest admitted to violent and sadistic behavior, including rape, stabbing and choking victims to death, the decision states.
Starr Lara, the sister of Forrest’s suspected first victim, Jamie Grissim, said she was ecstatic about the decision.
“I was so impressed with the board and how they mentioned his victims,” she said. “They were all-inclusive. They didn’t let him slide just because he hasn’t been charged.”
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 persons case in Clark County, according to the sheriff’s office.
Norma Countryman, 55, survived an attack by Forrest when she was 15 years old. After Countryman accepted his offer for a ride, Forrest drove her to a remote wooded area where he punched her, hog-tied her and tied her between two trees. Countryman was able to gnaw the ropes and break free.
“When I actually read the words, I started to cry,” Countryman said. “I put my head right down on the table at work and sobbed.”
Countryman said she felt overwhelming relief and a general sense of well-being.
Both women said that they could rest a little easier until the next parole hearing.
“In the meantime, it gives us time to get him on another murder, so he will never come up again,” Lara said.