April 4th, 1955 – November 27th, 1974
Vonnie had married in May, 1974 and settled in Burien. Her husband worked nights and Vonnie was looking forward to volunteering at the Youth Service Center in Seattle.
On Thanksgiving eve November 27, 1974 Vonnie was preparing her contribution to the Thanksgiving meal, a Jell-O salad. She spoke to her sister at 10: 30 P.M. and mentioned that a man from across the street had come to the door and offered to give them a dog as he and his wife were moving away. When her husband came home at 1:00 A.M., the lights were on, the TV was on. Vonnie’s purse was on the counter but Vonnie was gone. He called family and friends, but no one had any information about Vonnie’s absence. Vonnie’s husband called the police to report her missing but was told that by state law she could not be reported missing for 48 hours.
Vonnie’s disappearance was investigated by King County Police Department. The detectives discovered that the man from across the street had moved to Enumclaw. The neighbor was questioned and asked to return for a lie detector test. He did not return for the test and left town.
Six months later he was arrested in Houston, Texas where he was investigated for sexual assaults and disappearances of young women in that jurisdiction. He confessed to murders in Texas and Michigan as well as to Vonnie’s murder. Based on his confession remains were found in both Texas and Michigan and Vonnie was found buried at his former home in Enumclaw. However, he claimed that the Houston detectives had beaten him to obtain the confession and that an attorney was not present during the confession. That made the Texas and Michigan cases problematic.
The offender was extradited to Washington and initially charged with first degree murder in Vonnie’s death. On April 22, 1978 he agreed to plead guilty to 2nd degree murder after an agreement was reached that both Texas and Michigan will not prosecute him for crimes in their jurisdictions. He was sentenced to 20 years to life. Years later Vonnie’s sister provided a victim impact statement to the Indeterminate Sentence Review Board. The offenders next parole date was set at 2035 when he will be 100 years old.