Recently discovered bodies found on Joint Base Lewis McChord property have been identified as Karen Koep and Davido, the missing Thurston County couple.
According to the Thurston County Coroner’s Office, Karen Koep, 62, and Davido, 68, both died from multiple gunshot wounds to the head and body.
Their bodies had been found less than one mile from their property by people who were 4-wheeling through the area. The suspected murderer had been living on that property as a tenant.
Officials suspect that the couple were kidnapped and killed.
“Detectives responded to the scene to investigate the discovery, and sadly we believe Davido and Karen Koep have been located based on the preliminary investigation,” said a spokesperson for the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.
KIRO 7 News also confirmed the coroner’s announcement with the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday.
Lt. Michael Brooks, public information officer for the sheriff’s office, said it has been a “non-stop battle of investigation and meeting and gathering information.”
“This has been one of the highest priority cases the sheriff’s office has had this year.” He added, “We dedicated all our resources and detectives to investigate it and locate both of them since we originally got the call.”
KIRO 7 News asked Brooks about his thoughts on the coroner’s announcement as he reflected on the investigation.
“We are thankful we are able to do this and start the closure process -- although it’s going to be a long one -- at least we can begin that and provide Karen and Davido back to their family for the holidays,” he said.
“Karen, we’ve come to learn was a well-respected and well-liked chiropractor in the area that lots of people had contact with or aware of her or have been treated by her in the past, and the impact of this has been quite dramatic and drawn a lot of attention,” he added.
We also spoke with neighbors, who personally knew the couple Wednesday.
Keith, a neighbor, said Karen Koep was his chiropractor for years, who helped heal his back pain.
“I had a whole lot of respect and care for Karen,” he shared. “They were a caring couple. Liked a lot of people.”
But now the couple’s death has left a void in the community, including patients who Koep had helped.
“It brings some closure to me. It’s real.” He added, “Hopefully her sons, her sister and other folks in the community can heal up and say we’re going to miss Karen. She was a good soul.”
“Karen, God Bless you. I’m sorry you’re gone. I wish you and Davido were still here,” Keith said.
KIRO 7 News also spoke with Karen Koep’s younger sister, Pauline Dutton, on the phone Wednesday.
She did not want to go on camera, but she told KIRO 7 News that her thoughts remained the same as our prior interview last Sunday.
“At first, it felt like another punch to the gut. I got nauseous. I got shaky and sad,” she said Sunday. “I’m grateful. I’m grateful that we were able to find them so that we can now stop worrying. Stop wondering. Have a proper burial and memorial for them.”
“What this brings is the ability for everyone to stop worrying and wondering,” she told us.
Dutton said she and the family are supporting her two nephews, who Davido and Karen Koep leave behind.
“We’re trying to support them financially, mentally and spiritually. Support them and surround them with our love,” Dutton said.
Keith, a neighbor, who said he lives near Davido and Karen Koep’s home, said Koep was his doctor.
A void has been left in the neighborhood since they’ve been missing, he said.
“She was my own personal doctor and I find it very frustrating that here’s the community going through this grieving, feeling very bad for all the people and families affected by this,” he said. “I’m outraged. I’m angry. And somehow the wheels of justice have to turn in a good way. My prayers for the family. It’s been one of the most miserable days of my life.”
“We love them so much and we’re really going to miss them, but we know that we will see them again someday,” Dutton said.
Loved ones created a GoFundMe to help the family during this difficult time. If you’d like to help, please click here.
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