‘The house had been ransacked:' Thurston County coroner identifies homicide victim

The Thurston County coroner has identified a 45-year-old Olympia man who was found dead south of Tumwater.

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of Loren VerValen, who was found dead in his home Saturday on Heritage Lane, as a homicide.

Deputies said they’re looking for the person or people responsible for his death and have not yet made any arrests.

KIRO 7 spoke with a woman who identified herself as the victim’s girlfriend. She said she found his body.

“He was just cold and stiff,” said the woman who did not want to be identified. “The house had been ransacked; it looked like someone robbed him.”

She said it had been hours since she heard from VerValen, who she had dated for three years. The woman said she came over to his house near Old Highway 99 to check on him and noticed something unusual; his front door was unlocked.

The woman said his silver Ford Mustang was not at the house and she realized his bedroom door was locked.

“I yelled in the, over the bedroom door, I said ‘I’m going to break this door down,’” she said. “And I broke it off the hinges and he was laying on the bed as if he was sleeping but then I noticed his face was in the pillow to the point where if you were sleeping, you could not breathe.”

Detectives have not yet said what they believed happened to VerValen.

“There was a little bit of blood on the bed,” said the man’s girlfriend, who described him as a kindhearted, genuine person.

KIRO 7 also spoke with a friend of the victim who did not want to be identified.

“He’s the kind of person, like, ‘Hey, I’ll help you out,' you know,” she said. “He’s always doing stuff for people.”

Deputies said they’re looking for the victim’s 2007 silver Ford Mustang with Washington license plate BJV3429 that was stolen from the homicide scene.

“I’m hoping to wake up from this nightmare,” said the victim’s girlfriend. “I don’t think… it’s reality. I just have to face it.”

Call the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS if you’ve seen the victim’s Ford Mustang or have tips on the homicide.

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