Investigators: Suspect kills Lynnwood grandmother in wrong-way crash on SR 525 after kidnapping

LYNNWOOD, Wash. — A kidnapping suspect crashed and killed a Lynnwood grandmother after driving in the wrong direction on SR 525 with a victim inside his vehicle, investigators said.


Washington State Patrol said the crash happened on northbound State Route 525, near 148th Street SW, in Lynnwood.

Investigators said Robert Rowland, 37, was driving a stolen 2005 GMC Sierra truck on the highway with Kelsey Martin, 34, inside the vehicle.

Before the crash happened, Snohomish County Sheriff’s deputies said they were pursuing him, but called it off when he drove onto the highway in the wrong direction.

Rowland collided head-on with a 2004 GMC Yukon, killing the driver 83-year-old Trudy Slanger of Lynnwood.

Troopers said drugs or alcohol were involved in the crash but did not share further details.

Rowland could face charges, including second-degree murder, driving under the influence, and vehicular assault domestic violence.

Snohomish County deputies said the Tulalip Police Department is leading the investigation into the alleged kidnapping.

KIRO 7 reached out to Tulalip Police for more details. We are still waiting to hear back.

We are told the suspect and Martin are currently being treated at different hospitals.

We also reached out to the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office on Friday.

A spokesperson said the suspect is not currently in jail and the prosecutor’s office does not have any reports or documents related to him, as of Friday afternoon.

A makeshift memorial has been placed on the shoulder of northbound State Route 525, near the crash scene.


KIRO 7 News spoke Slanger’s son off camera. He said his mother was driving home from church in Lake Forest Park when the suspect collided head-on and killed her, about a half a mile away from her home.

We also spoke with neighbors near Slanger’s home in Lynnwood, including Larry Martin and his wife, Cherie Martin, who had been friends with Slanger for nearly 30 years.

“Just cannot believe this,” Cherie said. “We were just at bingo Friday night, last Friday, a week ago.”

“It’s an absolute shock,” said Larry. “We were very close friends with her and her husband who was our dentist.”

The Martins told KIRO 7 Slanger was retired and had three children and several grandchildren.

All three were involved in a number of clubs and activities across the Lynnwood community, they added.

“I can’t even imagine. I’m still not processing because I’m still seeing her play bingo in my mind,” Cherie said. “It’s scary. You never know. It could have been us.”

We also spoke with Sarah Woods, who said she knew Kelsey Martin for more than 20 years.

Both went to Monroe High School, she added.

“It breaks my heart,” Woods said. “I am heartbroken. Kelsey is heavily involved in Cayden’s (son) life, and she would never want him to lose her.”

“She always had my back, always, no matter what I was going through,” she added. “Nobody deserves to go through what she has gone through, and I will be praying for Cayden and her family.”

Ashley Aldrich told KIRO 7 that Martin is one of her closest friends. She shared the following message with us:

“She will care for you after an injury. She will foster animals. Bottom line Kelsey is beautiful inside and out. I am beyond relieved she survived this accident She is a loving mother and will love unconditionally the rest of her life.”