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Woman found dead on boat off Orcas Island was killed in Bellevue

Rhan Rha was born in 1970 in Seoul, South Korea. After moving to the U.S. in 1996, she established a successful business as a piano teacher.  - Sammamish Reporter
Rhan Rha was born in 1970 in Seoul, South Korea. After moving to the U.S. in 1996, she established a successful business as a piano teacher.
— image credit: Sammamish Reporter

THE SAMMAMISH REPORTER

Bellevue Police have determined that a Sammamish woman whose body was found on a boat off Orcas Island in August was murdered in Bellevue.

Detectives have evidence that Albert Carl Beutler of Bellevue strangled Rhan Rha around 2 a.m. on Aug. 12, when she was visiting his condominium apartment. Beutler, who had been dating Rha, took her body with him to Seattle and then to the San Juan Islands in a powerboat.

Rha was found on the boat that afternoon, after Beutler fatally shot himself as investigators closed in on the boat. Police and the Coast Guard began looking for Beutler after he sent a text message to a friend in which he claimed he had killed his girlfriend.

The San Juan County Sheriff's Office initially assumed jurisdiction. It's now a Bellevue case, only the second in the city in the last three years.

Rhan Rha was born in 1970 in Seoul, South Korea, where most of her family still lives.

While in Korea, she earned a bachelor's degree in music and an associate degree in fashion coordination from the Seoul Women’s University.

When she moved to the United States in 1996, she began to utilize her skill as a pianist and her passion for music, establishing a successful business as a piano teacher.

Rha and her 10-year-old son Noah were devoted members of the Korean Yedam Church in Bellevue, where Rha provided the piano accompaniment at Sunday services.

"She will be mourned by hundreds of families who have taken lessons from her over the years," friend Michelle Manson said in an earlier report. "We'd like her to be remembered for her contributions to our community rather than just as a victim of this horrible tragedy."

A memorial for Rha was held on Aug. 17 at the Korean Yedam Church in Bellevue.

— The Sammamish Reporter is a sister newspaper of The Journal of the San Juan Islands

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