OLYMPIA, Wash. — The question on a billboard on Martin Way East in Olympia is one that has haunted the Bodine family for almost 14 years. “Who killed Karen Bodine?”
“When my mom got murdered, a part of me died, too,” said Karlee Bodine.
Karlee Bodine was in high school when her mom, Karen Bodine, was murdered back in January of 2007. She had been strangled, and her nude body was dumped off the shoulder of Littlerock Road Southwest in Rochester.
“There’s not one day, not one minute of one day that I don’t think about it,” added Karlee.
Bodine was 37 years old when she died. It left an irreplaceable void in the family.
Now, all they have left are these old pictures of the mother of 3, samples of her handwriting and old newspaper clippings of her killing. Though it’s been nearly 14 years, the family hasn’t stopped searching for answers.
“We don’t know what happened. It’s a mystery. We’re trying to figure it out. It’s a small town, a small community. Someone knows something,” said Karlee.
At the time, the original detectives from the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office found DNA on a ligature used to strangle Karen. Now, Detective Mickey Hamilton is on the case and he’s hoping technology that wasn’t available back then will help crack it.
“At this point all we know it’s a mixture and we’re hoping that some newer technology available will be able to separate those mixtures into isolated profiles that can be identified,” explained Det. Hamilton.
Hamilton isn’t ruling out that this was a group effort. Over the years, there have been several people of interest, including the owner of the home where she was last seen alive.
“That’s part of the complicated nature of this case. There are several people that have been implicated by different witnesses over time and none of those people so far has returned as a match for the DNA. And so we’re trying to figure out what that means and figure out how all these pieces fit together,” said Det. Hamilton.
Karlee hopes the billboard will spark renewed attention on her mother’s killing.
“I am spending my life savings on this billboard. My money goes towards it and hopefully donations because it’s not paid for yet. And I barely work over a minimum wage job. And it’s worth every penny to find an answer,” said Karlee.
“We’re hoping also that the possibility remains that there’s somebody out there that knows something that up until now hasn’t said anything because they’re either afraid of a person in 2007 or they thought their information wasn’t important and now they’re ready to talk,” added Det. Hamilton.
Karlee pleaded with witnesses to come forward and provide her family with the answers they desperately need.
“Please just tell us the truth and let us know what happened so I don’t have to lay awake every night wondering what happened to my mom,” said Karlee. “That’s it. We just want the truth.”
Karlee is collecting money through the Venmo app (karlee_bodine). There’s also a GoFundMe page.
Cox Media Group