Body found in bunker believed to be suspect in North Bend slayings

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NORTH BEND, Wash. —

The body found Saturday morning in a fortified bunker is believed to be of Peter Keller, the suspect in the slayings of his wife and daughter, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office.

 

A SWAT team attempted to blow the top off of the bunker with an explosive, but only took out parts of the structure. This allowed enough access for deputies to enter the bunker and see inside.

 

When deputies found the body, they said it appeared to be Keller, 41, who had a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

 

“There’s a great deal of blood and a pistol nearby, and they do believe this is Peter Keller,” said Steve Strachan of the King County Sheriff’s Office.

 

Before deputies could entire the bunker, a bomb disposal unit cleared the structure and explosives and booby traps were not found, according to the Sheriff's Office.

 

The SWAT team found weapons and ammunition, a generator, gas cans, binoculars and bullet-proof vests.

 

According to officials, it appeared Keller spent eight years building the structure near Rattlesnake Ridge Trail, outside of North Bend.

 

Investigators were lowered from the King County Sheriff’s Office chopper to the location of the bunker to collect more evidence.

 

Authorities have been searching for Keller since his wife, Lynnette Keller, and their 18-year-old daughter, Kaylene Keller, were killed in a fire in their North Bend home on April 29. The King County Medical Examiner said both were shot to death.

 

“That’s where we’re going to do left now, not know what happened. Did he snap? Why did he kill his wife and daughter and hole up in this bunker in the woods?” Cindi West of the King County Sheriff’s Office said.

 

A King County Medical Examiner is currently conducting an investigation to determine the exact cause of death and positively identify the body, according to officials.

 

During the scene investigation, at least 10 deputies needed IVs because of dehydration, and Guardian One, the Sheriff’s Office’s chopper, flew about 50 trips Saturday to bring supplies.

 

Detectives with the King County Sheriff’s Office discovered clues that lead to the bunker after processing the crime scene at the house where the women were killed.  Detectives also received tips from citizens who had seen Keller’s truck at the Rattlesnake Ridge Trailhead over the past year.

 

Authorities and SWAT teams started their stake out at the bunker on Friday, when deputies discovered the structure after a tactical team smelled wood smoke. They believed Keller was inside the hideout.

 

SWAT teams dropped tear gas into the structure, but investigators believed Keller was wearing a gas mask.

 

According to police, Keller was fortified to defend himself. He is a survivalist who has a collection of guns, scopes, silencers, ammunition and a bullet-proof vest. 

 

On Wednesday, Keller was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of arson.