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Published: Monday, April 23, 2012, 5:01 p.m.

Women found in house fire had been shot, officials say

  • A door is open at the North Bend home of two women who perished in a fire Sunday. Firefighters had to force their way into the house Sunday morning be...

    Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times

    A door is open at the North Bend home of two women who perished in a fire Sunday. Firefighters had to force their way into the house Sunday morning because the door had been blocked with a couch and other furniture, said Sgt. Cindi West with the King County Sheriff's Office. Detectives are investigating their deaths as a double homicide.

  • Emily Ferree (left), 20; Sara Paullin, 19; Amber Boyce, 19; and Mia Graves, 18, friends of two women who perished in a house fire Sunday in North Bend...

    Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times

    Emily Ferree (left), 20; Sara Paullin, 19; Amber Boyce, 19; and Mia Graves, 18, friends of two women who perished in a house fire Sunday in North Bend, grieve upon arriving near the home.

SEATTLE -- Two women whose bodies were found in a fire at a home in Washington state had been shot to death, the medical examiner’s office said Monday.
Detectives were still trying to find Peter A. Keller, 41, who lives in the house where the women were found. Keller is considered a “person of interest” and has not been named as a suspect, said King County sheriff’s Sgt. Cindi West.
“We certainly have not ruled him out as a suspect,” she said. But she added, “There is a possibility that he’s also a victim somewhere.”
Keller has been unaccounted for since the Sunday morning fire at the house that he shared with his wife and daughter.
“We have two victims who have been shot and killed, weapons are missing from the house, and we have not been able to contact Keller,” said King County Sheriff Steve Strachan, in a statement. “We want to talk to him to see if he had any involvement in this case.”
Keller has no known history of violence, West said. He is an avid hiker and has spent many hours hiking the area around North Bend.
The identities of the two women have not been released.
A dog and cat also were found dead at the house, West said Monday.
Arson investigators were at the home Monday, where crews responding to the blaze also found seven gasoline containers, West said.
Firefighters had trouble entering the home near North Bend because the front door was jammed by a couch and chair. West said Sunday the entry “appeared to be intentionally blocked,” but family friends later told investigators a furniture arrangement blocked the door.
The family normally used a side door, they said.
Authorities said the fire and deaths were still considered suspicious because of the gas cans and the missing man. The family car was found hours after the fire elsewhere in North Bend, a Cascade foothills town about 30 miles east of Seattle.
The sheriff’s office had no history of domestic violence at the home, West said.
Cate Reynolds said her daughter was a high school classmate with the girl who lived there. They visited the scene Sunday with friends “to just come and be close and process some stuff,” Reynolds said.
Story tags » HomicideNorth Bend

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