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Top 10 most read stories of 2013 on Bothell-Reporter.com
Stories about a Bothell man charged with murdering his estranged wife were the most-read headlines this year, as the murder, investigation and eventual arrest occurred throughout the year. Bothell/Kenmore Reporter readers also paid close attention to a scandal involving Bothell Mayor Mark Lamb and chipped in to help a Bothell family whose mother battled a brain tumor.
Here are the top 10 most-read stories, according to Google Analytics:
Several Bothell residents asked Mark Lamb to resign from his position as Bothell Mayor, claiming his admitted affair has drawn embarrassment to the city and distracted the council from important issues, during a council meeting in November 2012.
A former employee of the North Creek Law Firm, Micaela Mae, 23, sued the business, Lamb and his wife for wrongful termination and invasion of privacy over the two-year affair between the employee and mayor. Mae filed the civil suit in Snohomish County Superior Court on Oct. 29, 2012 seeking unspecified damages for lost wages, future wages and emotional distress.
Lamb admitted to a sexual relationship with the woman in court filings on Nov. 8, but denied most other claims in her suit.
City Manager Robert Stowe said the city would not take any measures to remove Lamb from his position or investigate the issue. "It's not a matter for the city to be involved in," said Stowe, during the council meeting.
He added that expenses for council members' travel "are approved or audited regularly and I have no reason to believe that any of them are inappropriate, so I see no justification for any further action at this time."
Search warrants found there must have been a struggle between Susann Smith, 37, and her killer.
Detectives believed she was attacked in her bed with a blunt force object and the struggle continued into the bathroom. An ax was found in the home but detectives determined that it was not used in the attack.
Bloody footprints, both bare or with socks along with a sole, were found in the home. All the prints were determined to be the same size.
Police took blood samples from the residence for DNA testing that investigators said would be instrumental in solving the case. They also served search warrants on Susann's estranged husband Alan Smith’s apartment and vehicles.
Alan was named as a person of interest in the crime and police searched his car and questioned him. The couples' divorce battles were examined and other witnesses came forward to discuss Alan's behavior during the past year.
Bothell police Sgt. Cedric Collins confirmed that Susann died of “homicidal violence.”
Last summer police were continuously called by neighbors of Alan Smith, a Bothell resident recently charged with murdering his estranged wife, for loud screams and other disturbances coming from Smith's home.
In June, a neighbor heard a scream emanate from the home while outside with her landscaper, according to the police report. The neighbor did not observe any other suspicious activity.
Three Bothell police officers responded at 1:23 p.m. after a detective spoke with the reporting party. When officers arrived they walked down the driveway to the front gate. The front yard is enclosed by the gate and a large hedge.
From the gate, officers could see Smith and a woman engaged in sexual acts in a corner of the yard. Police took photos of the couple engaged in the sexual acts for the report and then contacted the couple.
Police told residents to call 9-1-1 if anything was out of sorts in the neighborhood. Smith was only a murder suspect at this time.
Krystal Warwick had been battling a brain tumor for two-and-a-half years when she was told by doctors she had less than a year to live.
Warwick's faith in God was tested as the thought of leaving behind her husband, her 2-year-old daughter, and her sons, ages 3 and 5, made her heartbroken. Yet it didn't take long for Warwick let go of her negative thoughts and focus on the thought of heaven and enjoy the time she had with her family.
At the time the article was written, Warwick had lost all right side function and required a wheelchair for her day-to-day living. She also lost all her peripheral vision on her right side.
Family and friends set up a website asking the community for help as her family faced extreme financial hardship with medical expenses, home healthcare for Warwick and daycare costs for her children, as her husband works fulltime outside the home. The Bothell community stepped up and helped the Warwick family reach nearly $5,800 of their $20,000 goal when the article was published in August.
Four-and-a-half months after a mother-of-two was found brutally murdered in her Bothell home, police arrested her estranged husband for the crime.
Alan Justin Smith, 37, was arrested at 8:25 a.m. on June 27 and booked on investigation of murder in the first degree at the Snohomish County Jail.
"There was no one particular thing that led to this," said Bothell police Sgt. Ken Seuberlich, the day of the arrest. "There were a number of things that culminated and made detectives confident to make the arrest."
Seuberlich said that Smith was "cooperative" with detective at the time of the arrest and "not combative."
Smith was served a search warrant on June 20 for his passport. But he was arrested for obstruction when he refused to turn the passport over to authorities.
"While [he] was in custody, a second search warrant was served on Alan Smith for inked images of [his] feet," said Seuberlich. "Once the images were obtained, Alan Smith was transported to the Snohomish County Jail and booked on obstruction."
Search warrants the Reporter gathered in March showed that police obtained a blood stained footprint from the scene of the crime.
On Feb. 15, the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office identified a dead woman found in her Bothell home as Susann Smith.
Smith, age 37, died of head injuries as the result of a homicide, the office confirmed on Friday. Bothell police found Smith during a welfare check at her home in the 200 block of 240th St. SW in Bothell on Tuesday morning.
Smith's employer, Z2Live, contacted the Bothell Police Department on Tuesday because they were concerned about Smith's welfare, said Z2Live CEO Lou Fasulo in a statement on Wednesday.
Bothell police Sgt. Cedric Collins said Smith died of “homicidal violence," but did not have any further details about the investigation.
On Feb. 27, Police identified the woman found murdered in her Bothell home and named her estranged husband as a person of interest.
The Smiths were in the midst of a contentious divorce, according to hundreds of Snohomish County Court documents pertaining to their divorce and obtained by the Reporter.
It was found that the couple, who was married for eight years and have two small children together, were separated on Nov. 18, 2011.
They even considered living together when they originally decided to separate but that did not work out.
Court documents state that “the marriage is irretrievably broken.”
The couple’s two children, ages 3 and 6, spent the majority of the time with Susann and extended weekends with their father.
Alan stated in court documents that they had “reached a fairly high level of cooperation for eight months without any court orders” prior to hiring lawyers in August.
The couple did have a restraining order keeping them apart when the divorce was initially filed.
The most recent disputes at the time centered on Susann’s desire to move herself and the children to her native Germany to be with her family, according to the documents.
The Bothell Police Department confirmed Feb. 22 that they consider the estranged husband of a Bothell woman who was found dead in her home as a person of interest and served a search warrant on the man's residence.
The couple were in the midst of a contentious divorce and have two small children, according to Snohomish County Court documents.
"The Bothell Police Department is continuing to pursue all leads in this homicide investigation," said Sgt. Cedric Collins, to the Reporter at the time. "… No arrests have been made and anyone who may have information they feel may be helpful in this investigation is encouraged to call the Bothell Police Department tip line."
Neighbors of the man named person of interest in his estranged wife's murder said they were worried about rumors that the man was moving back into the home where the crime occurred.
Alan Justin Smith reportedly told a few neighbors he planned on moving back home in a few weeks and regaining custody of his two children and moving them back in with him as well.
One neighbor told the reporter during this time that the situation reminded 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.”
For the second and third times in a little more than a week during May, Bothell police were called to a home where a mother-of-two was murdered in February. This time, the calls were for a domestic disturbance and welfare check.
Alan Justin Smith's estranged wife, Susann Smith, was found murdered in the home on Feb. 12. Police named Alan Smith as a person of interest in the crime and he has since moved back into the home.
Police were called at 1:20 a.m. May 24 by a third party stating that the woman at the residence was "off her medication." The call was for a welfare check.
Smith would not permit the officers inside the home. The officer stated in the police report that the woman "seemed to be having a paranoid episode. She was afraid to speak with me and told me she did not trust me." Smith also stated that he did not trust the responding officer.
The reporting party was referenced in the police report as the woman's father and he told police that he was concerned for her safety since Smith was a person of interest in his estranged wife's murder.
Officers left the residence, with no arrests, a short time later. The woman's father came to pick her up but she returned to the house later that morning, according to the police report.
Bothell police were then called back to the house later that morning by neighbors who witnessed the couple arguing in the front yard.
Police told residents to call 9-1-1 if anything was out of sorts in the neighborhood.