December 24th, 1980 – September 22nd, 2000
Anastasia was born the lone child to modest music instructors living in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, an impoverished city in the former Soviet bloc. As a toddler, she regaled adults with poems and fairy tales that she had memorized. Anastasia also seemed to inherit the musical talents of her parents, showing promise as a classical pianist.
She was a beautiful young woman on the cusp of a new life, blossoming into adulthood with the looks of a model and a vivacious personality. Anastasia longed to see the world, especially America. With the support of her parents, Anastasia made some modeling contacts and started looking at matchmaking catalogs.
It wasn’t long before she began corresponding with an American man. Through letters and visits, he wooed the family. Following a brief courtship and meetings in Kyrgyzstan, the couple returned to Seattle and married.
In her early letters home, Anastasia wrote to her parents about how much she enjoyed her life in the U.S. About a year into the marriage, however, police were summoned to the King home for a domestic incident. Anastasia showed officers scratches across her chest and stomach that she said were caused by her husband.
Entries from Anastasia’s diary detail the abuse she suffered and the fear she had of her husband who threatened her with death if she were to leave him. Anastasia decided travel to her homeland for an extended stay with her parents. Her husband soon followed and eventually brought her back to Seattle. That was the last time anyone saw Anastasia.
Her parents grew frantic when they could not reach their beloved daughter by phone. Her husband told everyone Anastasia did not come back to Seattle with him as she left him in Moscow when changing planes. Her parents went to Moscow and searched every hospital and morgue looking for their only child, all to no avail. A missing persons report was filed with the Mountlake Terrace Police Department and the police soon believed they were investigating a homicide. Everyone’s worst fears came true when in December 2000, Anastasia was found strangled to death and buried in a shallow grave in Washington. Her husband and an accomplice were arrested for murder.
Families and Friends rallied around Anastasia’s parents when they came to Seattle to help look for their daughter. In addition, they provided emergency financial assistance to help with housing, food, transportation, and clothing. Of primary concern was finding an interpreter who could help with communication. Their victim advocate provided on-going crisis intervention while waiting for the two trials for the men who murdered Anastasia. Families and Friends worked with immigration, provided courtroom support and media intervention. After the trials, Families and Friends were contacted by jury members who needed to debrief about what had been heard and seen during trial.
In the aftermath of Anastasia’s murder, Washington State lawmakers passed legislation to screen prospective suitors in the “mail-order bride” industry. U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell took Anastasia’s story to Washington D.C. and was able to enact legislation at the federal level. Anastasia’s parents participated in testifying with the support of their Families and Friends advocate. Although nothing can bring Anastasia back, it is hoped these new laws may spare another young woman from the fate that ended Anastasia’s life.