by: Colleen West, Digital Editor Updated:
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Wash. - Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested a 50-year-old Arlington man Sunday on charges of killing his sister in what may have been an argument over their dead parents’ assets.
According to probable cause documents, the victim’s brother, David Thorsen, had found his 80-year-old mother dead at the bottom of the basement stairs at her home in the 13200 block of 240th Street Saturday. During the death investigation, Thorsen’s sister, Karen Harris, had come to the home as well.
The two remained at the home after police left.
That night, the victim’s son, Joel Harris, learned though a Facebook message that his grandmother had died, documents said.
Joel Harris said he thought it was odd that his 53-year-old mother didn’t call to tell him, so he went to his grandmother’s home early Sunday looking for her, a police report said.
Probable cause documents said Joel Harris found his uncle there, drunk and high from drugs and alcohol. Thorsen told his nephew he hadn’t seen Karen Harris.
Joel Harris said he became suspicious about his uncle’s involvement in his mother’s disappearance after he found his mother’s car parked behind a barn on the property. The car contained hard alcohol, beer and food items that Karen Harris was known not to consume.
Joel Harris said he looked for his mother the rest of the night but could not find her. He later called police who came to the property and found Thorsen trying to kill himself in his car, documents said.
An officer walking through a field on the property to talk to another officer came across a dead woman under a blanket who was believed to be Karen Harris, authorities said. Police said the body was found about 50 yards from the house.
According to police documents, Joel Harris said there was contention within the family regarding his grandfather's last will and how property was going to be divided among family members. Neighbors said the father of David Thorsen and Karen Harris had died a few weeks ago.
Joel Harris also told police that several years ago he witnessed a fight between Thorsen and his mother in which his mother was nearly choked into unconsciousness.
Neighbors interviewed by police reported hearing two people arguing and a woman screaming Saturday.
Police said they are looking into the possibility that Thorsen's and Karen Harris' mother, Betty Thorsen, may have been murdered as well. Both Betty Thorsen's body and that of her daughter are at the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office.
Thorsen was booked into the Snohomish County Jail on charges of second-degree murder Sunday night.