News

Estranged husband, person of interest plans to move into murdered wife's Bothell home, neighbors say

A memorial to Bothell resident Susann Smith sits in the driveway of her home. The same home her body was found on Feb. 12.

A potted plant, wilting flowers and a couple of soaked greeting cards were pushed to one side of the driveway, when a cleaning crew arrived with their van on Friday. The crew was there to scrub the Bothell mother's blood from the carpet and walls.

Most neighbors would be happy to see the progress and to move on. But no one has been arrested for Susann’s murder and neighbors on this block are more concerned about who is moving in.

Alan Justin Smith, the women's estranged husband and the only person of interest named by police, told one of his neighbors that he plans to move back into the home in about three weeks.

“The police have said in the beginning that we are not in any danger,” said a neighbor, who spoke to the Reporter on the condition of anonymity and fearing for her safety. “The police have told us not to have any contact with him. I am very uncomfortable with him coming over here. To know that he is across the street is frustrating.”

Bothell police wont talk about the active investigation other than to say that detectives are still working on the case.

"I do not have any additional information to provide regarding the case," said Bothell police spokesman Sgt. Cedric Collins.

The Reporter spoke with four neighbors, none of which would give their name for fear of their safety. All are tired of the entire situation.

“I don’t care to see him,” another neighbor said. “He doesn’t scare me, it is just knowing what happened over there.”

Other neighbors are stunned that anyone would want to live there knowing what happened.

“How could someone live in that house?” said another neighbor. “But we don’t know what to do. I don’t feel comfortable. I have seen him every day for the past three days.”

Neighbors also said that Alan Smith has already changed the locks on the home and Susann Smith’s vehicle was removed from the premises. Another neighbor said via email that they saw sheet rock being removed from the home.

“I witnessed them take several bags of what appeared to me as being documents of some kind,” said the neighbor.

Police served their last search warrant in the case on Feb. 27, according to the South Snohomish County Superior Court.

Neighbors are also frustrated with the lack of information about the case from the Bothell Police Department. The Reporter has received many emails from concerned readers requesting an update on the investigation.

“It has been very hard on all of us in the neighborhood,” a neighbor said. “It would be nice to find out what is happening.”

Alan Smith also allegedly told neighbors he plans to get his children back and move them back into the home where their mother was brutally murdered and found in the bathtub.

For one neighbor, the situation reminds her of the case of Susan Powell's disappearance in 2009. Powell disappeared in Utah and her husband Josh Powell moved himself and two boys to Puyallup, Wash. The neighbor said that her daughter lived in the same community as the Powells in Utah. Josh Powell was named a person of interest in his wife's disappearance.

Child Protective Services came under fire after Powell was given visitation and ultimately committed suicide and killed his two young sons.

The Smith children, ages 6 and 3, have been under the supervision of Child Protective Services since February.

Neighbors said that children where the kids went to school have been writing them cards: “Those cards have to be taken to CPS to get them to the kids.”

A CPS spokesperson could not talk specifically about the case.

“Until or unless the parent or guardian has been charged with abuse or neglect we can’t discuss the whereabouts with the media,” said Washington State Department of Social and Health Services spokesman Thomas Shatley. “The court makes the decision on placement. Our practices have to do with the safety and well being of the child.”

A memorial for Susann Smith was held a few weeks after her death at the church the family attended in Woodinville. The victim's mother, father and sister from Germany attended the service, as well as Alan Smith, said neighbors.

“He never showed any emotion,” said one neighbor, who attended the service. “Her dad spoke with Alan. He looked him right in the face and it was in German, so I was told he said ‘if you didn’t have anything to do with this you better be helping the police.’”

One neighbor said that she understands much of the evidence so far in search warrant documents is circumstantial.

Search warrant documents state that Alan Smith lied about cuts on his hands in the days after her body was found and that searches for “does Venezeula extradite to the United States” and tickets to South America for an adult and two children were found on his computer.

During the search of Alan Smith's car, police also found a Home Depot bag with unopened Kleenguard chemical splash resistant coveralls and a new roll of masking tape. When asked about the items he said he planned to paint his apartment. Investigators also found unopened latex gloves. He claimed that all the items were purchased on his lunch break on Feb. 12.

The two adults were in the midst of custody proceedings for their two children and Susann Smith had threatened to move back to her native Germany with the kids, according to court documents.

“After the divorce I always told her we were only a phone call away,” a neighbor said. “My one hang-up is that she never got the chance to call. But we do have good memories of her.”

 

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the Nov 21
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates