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San Juan County Coroner: Murdered woman died from strangulation

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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

Rhan Rha, the Sammamish woman found dead on a powerboat off the west side of Orcas Island on Wednesday, died from strangulation, San Juan County Coroner Randall K. Gaylord said today.

The Snohomish County Medical Examiner determined Rha died of asphyxiation due to strangulation, Gaylord said. "The manner of death is homicide ... Based upon what we know, Ms. Rha died before the boat came to San Juan County."

On Aug. 12 at about 1:45 p.m., the U.S. Coast Guard found a man and woman dead aboard a 36-foot powerboat named "Moon Angel." The boat was brought to Friday Harbor and the bodies of a man and woman were taken to the Snohomish County medical examiner for a thorough examination.

The dead man, Albert C. Beutler, 39, of Bellevue, died of a single gunshot wound to the head. "The manner of death is suicide," Gaylord said.

Rha, 39, was a South Korean national living in Sammamish. Gaylord said that his office notified the South Korean Consulate in Seattle and arranged for notification of her mother in Seoul.

Gaylord's office is working with officers from the Coast Guard and detectives from the San Juan County Sheriff's Office and Bellevue Police Department to determine the time, place and circumstances that Rha died.

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