Detectives search Seattle house where 3 brothers had ‘obsession with young children'

By: KIRO 7 News Staff

Updated:

SEATTLE - Seattle Police Department detectives returned to a house in Green Lake on Wednesday morning to do additional forensic investigating just a few days after three brothers were arrested for allegedly possessing images of child-sex abuse.

>> See photos from the investigation here

Chopper 7 flew over the investigation, where detectives were searching around the house and looking at items inside it late morning. Here’s what we know now.

Key developments:

  • 82-year-old Charles Emery, 80-year-old Thomas Emery and 79-year-old Edwin Emery were charged Monday with two counts of possession of depictions of minors engaged in sexual conduct.
  • Police say a family member was cleaning the men's Green Lake home and discovered what she believed to be materials depicting the sexual abuse of a child.
  • Charging papers say authorities including members of the FBI's internet Crimes Against Children Task Force searched the home, finding evidence prosecutors say that each of the men spent the majority of their lives sexually abusing children and exploiting children depicted in child pornography.
  • Detectives say it was Charles' "manifestos" about Satanic rituals, kidnapping, raping and killing girls that led them to dig under sheds, searching for evidence of potential murder.

Scroll down to keep reading. 


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What the investigation first found

On Aug. 19, Seattle child sex crime detectives say they acted on a tip from the brothers' niece who arrived to clean out the garage.

The relative called 911. At the home, detectives collected a staggering amount of child porn.

Home in Green Lake. Image: KIRO 7

They also found evidence of the sexual exploitation of young girls as well as children's worn clothing and underwear, children’s shoes, toys and movies. 

Homeland Security's Internet Child Exploitation team assisted in the search, which involved digging for potential buried evidence under locked sheds and garages.

About the brothers

Neighbors in the quiet Green Lake neighborhood along Northeast 59th Street say they always wondered about the dilapidated house and the three guarded, mysterious Emery brothers who lived there since 1962. 

"I've never seen a girlfriend, a wife, a woman of any type visit that house," said Don Smith, who lives next door.

82-year-old Charles Emery is one of the three brothers arrested in a child sex abuse investigation.

Edwin purchased the house in 1962.

Seattle police say the brothers, ranging in age from 78 to 82, began molesting their own sister and eventually molested other young relatives for decades.

None of them had ever married, none had their own children or many relationships outside their own siblings.

Scroll down to read about the manifesto. 


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Family tells KIRO 7 that Charles now has dementia, and they confirmed information in court documents that revealed he worked as a janitor at Seattle Children's Hospital in the 1970s and 1980s.. 

Police arrested 82-year-old Charles Lee Emery in a Queen Anne nursing home. Eighty-year-old Thomas Edwin Emery and 78-year-old Edwin Harold Emery were arrested at their home.

‘Manifestos’ led to more investigating 

Detectives say Charles, Thomas and Edwin sexually molested young relatives for years, and collected pictures and even children's shoes.

But detectives say it was Charles' "manifestos" about Satanic rituals, kidnapping, raping and killing girls that led them to dig under sheds, searching for evidence of potential murder.

Detectives say one of Charles' writings was found buried and partially burned -- along with a child's hat. On Wednesday, detectives returned to the Green Lake house to continue searching.

"Their writings express desires to kill children," said Capt. Mike Edwards, who leads SPD's Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force. "It's very clear that these three individuals have an obsession with young female children, they've had this obsession for most if not all of their lives, and they acted on it."

The search extended from the home in the Green Lake neighborhood to another home the brothers owned 90 miles away in Shelton.

Charging documents indicate SPD detectives questioned Edwin Emery and his relatives about child porn found on his computer in 2013, but no charges were ever filed.

Now detectives are hoping to identify the children in the photos and they hope to find victims who may have been molested decades ago and never came forward.

The search extended from the home in the Green Lake neighborhood to another home the brothers owned 90 miles away in Shelton. Image: KIRO 7

Family reacts to charges 

Edwin's twin sister, named Edna, spoke to KIRO 7 News by telephone just a day after she got the news.

"I still haven't gotten over the shock of it," she said.

>> RELATED: Brothers' niece told police about their cache of child pornography

She says her daughter was acting as executor for their oldest brother's estate.  That is when she made the terrible discovery.

"She was in Charles' room," Edna said of her daughter. "And I guess she was going through the boxes and stuff to see what was in them. And she found these little shoes and stuff."

Watch our interview with Edna below, scroll down to keep reading. 

The woman thought Charles might be innocent, since he has dementia.

"She said, 'I don't know if the other two were involved or not," Edna said. 'But I am going to tell the police."

Neighbors react to brothers’ charges

Neighbors have been wondering exactly what happened in this home since investigators swarmed the home over the weekend. The new details Seattle police and court documents revealed leave them stunned.

For decades, neighbors didn't think much about the three brothers who've lived there for 55 years.

“I just thought they were harmless weird old guys,” said Julie Vandenberg, who lives directly across the street.

Neighbors saw the investigators in hazardous materials suits and police bring out box after box of evidence on Friday and Saturday.

Watch coverage from our report over the weekend below, scroll down to keep reading. 

“It was shocking. I didn’t know what to think,” said Smith, who watched investigators work late into the night Friday from his home next door.

“It’s way worse than I thought. It is sickening, it's really sickening,” Vandenberg said. “Something happened to little children here - it sounds like little girls, and that's horrific.”

Neighbors say many young children live on the block.

The neighbors say they wish they would've noticed some sign earlier, about what was going on in the house but they're just glad the three brothers aren't there to victimize kids any longer.

Neighbor Don Smith said he was surprised the allegations were kept quiet for so long.

"I mean, to be next door to these guys for all these years, if. If they're going out every day and doing something like that, I was like, wow. This is too much."

Timeline of events

August 23, 2017: Detectives return to the 141 N.E. 59th St. property and search the home as part of a forensic investigation. Some of the detectives involved are with the Internet Crimes Against Children unit.

August 17, 2017: The brothers, Edwin, Thomas and Charles Emery, are charged with second-degree possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct and another count of second-degree possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

August 16, 2017: Seattle police Detective Danial Conine gets a search warrant for several boxes and bags of materials provided by an Emery relative, listed as T.W. in court documents. The search warrant is signed by King County Superior Court Judge Helen Halpert. Conine searches the materials provided by T.W., which allegedly includes hundreds of nude images of children, dozens of pairs of children’s penny loafer shoes, children’s underwear that appears used, condoms that appear used, dozens of books and articles related to child homicides and handwritten notes describing how girls would wear penny loafers prior to abuse and murders occurring, according to charging documents.

August 9, 2017: A relative of Charles Emery, who has legal guardianship over him, contacts police and says she has discovered “boxes of material including pornographic images of underage girls, young girls clothing/shoes, magazine clippings of missing and murdered young girls and handwritten notes detailing the kidnapping, torturing, raping and murdering of young girls during the process of cleaning out the garage area,” according to a police document.

January 25, 2013: Seattle police Detective Danial Conine interviews Edwin Emery at 141 N.E. 59th St. He admits there could be child pornography on his computer, admits to sexual abuse of one of his sisters and that sister’s daughter, according to court documents. Then age 73, Edwin Emery also discusses his sexual attraction to “sub-teenage” girls, court documents state. The interview is recorded. However, prosecutors do not file charges.

January 22, 2013: Seattle police contact Office Depot employees who had reported Edwin Emery brought his black Xion custom-built desktop computer tower with a Seagate 320 GB hard drive there for service and repair. Employees say they had conducted a diagnostic check on the computer and found images of suspected female child pornography. Seattle police are given consent to check the computer by Edwin Emery, and a forensic examination leads to the discovery of roughly 20 pictures of child erotica, nudist colony activity and several lascivious display images, according to court documents.

September 7, 1987: Ermina Emery, the mother of the suspects and wife of Harold, dies.

December 24, 1970: Harold W. Emery, father of the suspects, dies at age 75. Emery, who was a private in the U.S. Army, is buried at the Willamette National Cemetery in Oregon. Harold Emery lived at the 141 N.E. 59th Street, which was searched by police in 2017.

March 14, 1962: Edwin H. Emery, one of the three brothers, buys the Green Lake property at 141 N.E. 59th St. in Seattle. March 14, 1962, is the day the deed was filed. Edwin purchases the home for $12,950. City directories list only Thomas D. Emery at the property in 1965, 1980 and 1990. The 1965 Seattle city directory lists Thomas and Edwin H. Emery. 

November 17, 1938: Edwin Harold Emery is born.

July 14, 1937: Thomas Edwin Emery is born.

October 15, 1934: Charles Lee Emery is born.


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