‘We can now stop worrying’: Deputies uncover bodies believed to be missing Thurston County couple

THURSTON COUNTY, Wash. — Deputies have uncovered bodies off Stedman Road Southeast, on JBLM property, that the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office believes are a missing Thurston County couple.

The bodies were 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 was 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.

We’re told detectives are working with federal authorities to determine how to move forward since the bodies were found on federal property.

A spokesperson said there is no cause of death but detectives believed there was a shooting involved due to shell case findings.

KIRO 7 spoke with Karen Koep’s younger sister, Pauline Dutton, about the announcement Sunday.

“At first, it felt like another punch to the gut. I got nauseous. I got shaky and sad,” she said. “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.

While the bodies have not been identified yet, Dutton said she is confident they belong to her older sister and brother-in-law.

“I’m glad they were found. I’m 99% positive it’s them. It’s close to their rental property where the tenant lived,” she explained.

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.

If you have any information that might help law enforcement solve the couple’s murder you are asked to email detectives@co.thurston.wa.us.

This is an ongoing story, check back for updates.

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