Loved ones remember Bellevue mom, son killed by fallen tree

A mother and son were both suddenly killed on Sunday when a tree fell on their car during the weekend windstorm.

Camille Martlin, 59, and Max Martlin, 22, both died at the scene.

“Max and his mom went to go pick pumpkins,” said Brian Martlin, Max’s dad and Camille’s ex-husband. “They were best friends. They go paddle boarding together, walk the dogs together,” he said.

But on their way home to Bellevue, while driving on Preston Fall City Road, the unthinkable happened.

“It’s just a terrible, terrible tragedy,” Martlin said.

A large tree snapped during the storm about 20 feet from its base and came crashing down on the mother and son. Martlin says he found out after police knocked on his door.

“Max, he’s the sweetest person I have ever known. And don’t say that just because he’s my son. He just is. He never had a bad word about anybody,” Martlin said.

Now two crosses and a wreath mark the spot where their lives were so suddenly cut short.

“It is incredibly rare. And is just really such a regretful circumstance that comes down to just moments,” said Sgt. Tim Meyer with the King County Sheriff’s Office. Meyer said detectives from the major accident response unit determined the tree was 8 feet in circumference.

“It is truly is just an accident of inches. And it’s one we can’t predict,” Meyer said.

Camille Martlin was an aesthetician and massage therapist, who owned a business in Bellevue, called Essential Kneads.

Business neighbors called her “a gift to this planet.”

Friends who shared photos and posts on social media described her as funny, vibrant, the life of the party.

“Her smile is big and her personality is big, even though she’s really small,” said Kathleen Zielinski, a friend. Zielinski said Camille was not even 5 feet tall.

“She always had this energetic effervescence for life,” Zielinski said. “Max and Camille, they were attached at the hip. He was her only (child),” she said.

Max was just about to start his next phase of school.

“He had such a bright future,” Brian Martlin said, tearing up. “He just got his two-year degree and was just starting to take classes on his four-year degree,” he said. He said Max was planning to go into real estate or business.

Max also had a long-time girlfriend.

“He called her 10 times a day. They were always together, always talking,” Martlin said.

And loved ones say Max was always there for his mom.

“His mom and I got divorced about six or seven years ago, and he really stepped in to take care of her,” Martlin said.

He said when he saw the size of the tree that crashed on their car, in some way it brought him comfort that they probably never had the time to be afraid or suffer.

“I’m sure they didn’t even know it was coming. So it was at least merciful,” Martlin said. “They were well-loved, as they should be,” he said.

Friends said the mom and son loved Halloween. They’re asking people to carve and display pumpkins with hearts carved into them — to help remember Camille and Max and how they glowed in this world.