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Thursday, February 22, 2024
Feb. 22, 2024

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Bodies found at Joint Base Lewis-McChord believed to be missing couple, sheriff says

Prosecutors say suspect likely killed couple after learning he was to be evicted from their property

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The remains of two people found Saturday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord are believed to be a Thurston County couple who went missing nearly a month ago, according to the sheriff’s office.

Davido and Karen Koep were last seen Nov. 10, and investigators found evidence they were killed at their home east of Lacey. Prosecutors allege a man who had been renting from Davido (who legally has no surname) killed the couple after learning he might be evicted.

While Sheriff Derek Sanders said detectives are “reasonably certain” the bodies found off Stedman Road Southeast are Davido and Koep’s, the county coroner’s office will make an official ruling about the identities and cause of death.

“We are hopeful this is one step in the right direction for the families and friends of Karen and Davido and everyone who was impacted by them, that they will have some sort of closure with this case as we move forward,” Sanders said during a news conference Saturday night.

The bodies were discovered less than a half-mile from where suspect Timothy Burke was living — and “just outside” the area the sheriff’s office had searched, Sanders said. Additional details were not immediately available about where on the military base the bodies were found.

Burke, 45, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder on Nov. 22. According to court documents, investigators went to Davido and Koep’s home to perform a welfare check and found two large bloodstains in the living room, evidence that someone had used bleach and a vacuum to try cleaning the blood, and two bullet holes in a wall. Investigators concluded the husband and wife were both likely dead.

Davido owned property on Stedman Road Southeast where he allowed people to stay in campers and garages on the land regardless of whether they could pay, according to prosecutors.

During the investigation, a detective received a partially completed eviction notice for Burke written by Davido, and the detective learned that Burke had reported to law enforcement that his landlord was plotting a story to get him evicted, according to court documents.

Davido’s debit card was used Nov. 12 at two credit unions, a prosecutor wrote, and surveillance footage from the credit unions showed a man and a vehicle.

Lacey police reportedly found Koep’s vehicle that night, abandoned. They looked inside and saw what appeared to be blood in the trunk, the prosecutor wrote.

Later, police found Burke driving the vehicle seen in the credit unions’ security video, according to the prosecutor’s statement. He had a semi-automatic pistol in his pocket, and forensics testing later showed the pistol matched the casings found in the home, according to court documents.

Authorities found .45-caliber bullets and reddish stains in the vehicle, and investigators acquired “very negative” emails about Davido written by Burke. The same day, deputies found Burke hiding off the side of a trail and arrested him.

Burke is being held without bail at the Thurston County Jail.

A GoFundMe was set up to support the search effort and Davido’s adult children. The funds will also be used to keep utilities paid on their home and business. Koep was a chiropractor in Lacey.

The sheriff’s office asks anyone with additional information about Davido and Koep’s disappearance to contact detectives.

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