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Man charged with murder after couple's 'suspicious' disappearance

A Washington couple who were believed to be missing last week are now presumed victims in a murder investigation.
Man charged with murder after couple's 'suspicious' disappearance
Posted at 5:28 PM, Nov 20, 2023

Authorities have arrested a man for the murder of a married couple whose disappearance they had described as "suspicious" last week.

Three days after asking for the public's help in finding Karen Koep and her husband Davido, the Thurston County Sheriff's Office in Washington state said its detectives have arrested Timothy Burke of Olympia on first-degree murder and kidnapping charges in connection to the case. 

The office noted the man in his 40s was known to the couple but didn't specify exactly how, though Koep's sister, Pauline Dutton, told multiple outlets the suspect was one of several tenants in the couple's nearby rental unit.

Koep and Davido were presumed missing on Nov. 13 when deputies were asked to perform a welfare check at the couple's residence after Koep, a chiropractor, didn't show up for work. They arrived to find the couple and their car gone, and the circumstances "surrounding their disappearance [were] suspicious," the sheriff's office said a day after. The car was later recovered away from the home.

SEE MORE: Police search for couple who vanished under 'suspicious' circumstances

Then on Nov. 17, detectives said a suspect had attacked the couple at home, and according to the evidence they have collected, it appears they didn't survive it.

"Working with our local, state and federal partners, we have gathered evidence to identify a suspect in their disappearance," Thurston County Sheriff Derek Sanders said in a release. "Throughout the investigation, we have been in contact with the family of the missing couple, and sadly, we do not believe the couple survived the attack at their residence."

Dutton told NBC News that Burke worked for Davido in lieu of paying rent to live at the couple's rental property. She told the outlet she wasn't aware of any issues the couple were having at the time of their disappearance but that "there was always some drama with the tenants."

People who knew Koep and Davido — who legally dropped his last name, according to NBC News — gathered for a vigil Sunday outside of Koep's office.

Many of Koep's patients spoke highly of her as their chiropractor and friend. One told King 5, "I'm very, very upset over this man who thought he could take such wonderful people from us." Family members remembered the couple's love and selflessness.

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