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Bellingham Police arrest man suspected of dumping headless calves in middle of road

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BELLINGHAM — Bellingham Police have arrested a man recently released from prison who they suspect was responsible for leaving the bodies of two beheaded calves in the middle of Hannegan Road last month and then leaving their heads on the property of a victim who had a restraining order against him.

Christopher Carl Zander, 59, was booked into Whatcom County Jail Thursday, April 29, on suspicion of felony harassment (domestic violence) and stalking (domestic violence). Jail records show he is being held in lieu of $250,000 bail.

In 2014, Zander was convicted on five counts of violating a domestic violence protection order and sentenced to 10 years in prison, Lt. Claudia Murphy told The Bellingham Herald in an email. Due to good behavior in prison, Zander was released early on Feb. 1, according to Whatcom County Superior Court records.

At approximately 12:29 a.m. April 21, Bellingham Police responded to the report of the two headless calves, found bound at the legs with orange bailing twine, in the middle of the roadway in front of Cowden Gravel on Hannegan, according to Murphy.

Later investigation showed a dead coyote was also dumped on the roadway in front of Cowden Gravel’s Cedarville Road facility on the morning of April 21, Murphy reported, and the coyote was tied up using the same orange bailing twine..

The Bellingham Police Department asked for the public’s help with information on the calf carcasses through social media, and received a tip from a witness April 22 saying they saw a white SUV driving south on Meridian Street shortly after midnight and that the SUV was dragging two dead calves behind it tied to the vehicle with orange bailing twine.

On April 23, the victim, who had the court order against Zander, called 911 after finding two calf heads dumped on her Whatcom County property, according to Murphy. The heads were determined to be from the bodies that were found on Hannegan.

Further investigation and tips showed Zander had found the dead calves, used an ax to decapitate them, then deposited the bodies on Hannegan and the heads on the victim’s property, Murphy reported. Police and the victim believe Zander placed the calf heads on the victim’s property to frighten, intimidate and harass her.

Before the calves were found, Murphy reported:

  • On April 2, the victim reported finding a package of moldy/musty books addressed to her from a relative of Zander’s.
  • On April 15, a witness called 911 and reported seeing a white Dodge Durango, belonging to Zander, depositing a box of food in the middle of the road less than 100 feet of the victim’s Whatcom County home. The witness reported seeing the same Dodge dumping food in the road over the past several days, as well.
  • On April 16, a neighbor of the victim’s reported seeing a white Dodge Durango dumping car parts, Murphy reported. The incident was captured on surveillance video, and Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office deputies matched the video to a photo of Zander, and the witness in the April 15 incident identified Zander as being the man dumping food in that incident.

At approximately 10:27 p.m. April 29, an officer in the 3900 block of Meridian Street near a location Zander was known to be spotted Zander’s white Dodge Durango in a parking lot, Murphy reported. Zander was outside and came over to speak to officers and was arrested without incident.

In addition to his conviction on five counts of violating a restraining order in 2014, court records showed he had previously been convicted of violating restraining orders in 2012, 2008, twice in 2004 and twice in 2003. Additionally, court documents show convictions for perjury, burglary and harassment.

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