• Husband and father of hiking trail murder victims takes polygraph to move cold case forward

    By: Graham Johnson

    Updated:

    After a dozen years, David Stodden's pain is clear as ever.

    "I still think about them many, many times every day," Stodden said Wednesday, his voice breaking.

    Mary Cooper and Susanna Stodden, his wife and daughter, were shot to death in July 2006 as they hiked to Pinnacle Lake in Snohomish County. 

    Mary was a school librarian; Susanna was about to start a teaching internship.    

    "They were really two good people and they were just on a hike like tens of thousands of people in the Northwest do every day," Stodden said.

    It has long been a chilling whodunnit.

    On Wednesday, at the request of Snohomish County cold case detectives, David Stodden sat for a polygraph, and invited reporters to meet him when he finished.

    "They asked, 'Did you kill your wife and daughter? Were you involved in the murder of your wife and daughter? Did you help plan the murder of your wife and daughter?'"

    Stodden said the polygraph was his third and that the previous results were inconclusive.

    "I didn't pass it the first two times," Stodden said.

    The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office confirmed Stodden did pass Wednesday’s polygraph.

    "At this time detectives do not believe he is a suspect in this case because of the polygraph today," said Courtney O'Keefe, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office.

    Stodden says he was, at first, reluctant to do it again.

    "It's kind of insulting to have someone want you to take a polygraph since it was your own family," Stodden said.

    But, in the end, he agreed because it helps the cold case detectives who took up the murders about a year ago to eliminate him as a suspect and look for more promising leads.

    Right now, Stodden says there aren't many.

    "They don't have a lot of information," he said.

    Stodden theorizes that someone mentally ill or on drugs committed the murders.

    Over the years, he bought newspaper ads and invited cameras to memorial walks, to keep the case in the public eye in hopes of generating tips.

    He still believes someone out there knows something that might finally bring justice.

    To report a tip, call 800-222-TIPS.

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