Deceased identified in apparent murder-suicide off Orcas Island

Sheriff's officials say this is the boat in which two people were found dead Wednesday off Orcas Island. The deaths are being investigated as a murder-suicide.
— image credit: Scott Rasmussen

A man and woman were found dead onboard a boat in President Channel off Orcas Island Wednesday, in an apparent murder-suicide.

The man has been identified as 39-year-old Albert Beutler of Bellevue; the woman has been identified as 39-year-old Rhan Rha from Sammamish.

The U.S. Coast Guard, including a HH-65C Dolphin Helicopter from Port Angeles and vessels from Station Bellingham, and the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report from the Bellevue Police Department that a possible murder suspect was traveling in the San Juan Islands. Bellevue Police reported that friends of the suspect had been notified by the suspect by text mail that he had killed his girlfriend and he was planning on killing himself. Bellevue Police approximated his position by "pinging" his cell phone.

Vessels from the Coast Guard found the 36-foot powerboat as it left Friday Harbor and followed it into President Channel off the westside of Orcas Island. The Coast Guard was joined by an additional vessel from Customs/Homeland Security.

As officers approached the boat, the suspect went below despite being ordered to stay on deck. Shortly thereafter, a shot was heard. Officers boarded the boat and found the suspect alive but very seriously wounded. An attempt at CPR was made by a Coast Guard EMT crewman, but the suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.

A patrol vessel from the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office arrived on scene and assumed jurisdiction of the investigation. Sheriff’s officers found a woman dead in the forward section of the powerboat. The woman appeared to have died sometime much earlier to the discovery of her body, Sheriff Bill Cumming said.

The boat was taken to Friday Harbor where a search warrant was obtained and the boat was searched for evidence and for body removal. The bodies will be taken to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner for post-mortem examination.


KOMO4 TV Seattle.

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