Friend of Bothell murder victim speaks out

Susann Smith - Courtesy photo
Susann Smith
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Bettina Scott, 40, was sitting in a cafe with her two children feeling lonely and missing her home in Germany when a woman and her two children came over to talk to her.

Scott, Susann Smith and the four children became instant friends. The two women scheduled many play dates with their children, including birthday parties and visits to the zoo.

"Susann was very warm and bubbly and genuinely loved people," Scott said. "She was a loyal friend and was always there for you. She was a very good mom and loved her children."

Scott wasn't able to see Smith for six months because she was moving from Seattle to Woodinville with her family. She turned on the news one night and saw a story about Smith that she describes as "shocking and disturbing."

Smith was found on Feb. 12, 2013 face down, beaten and drown to death in the bathtub of her Bothell home while her two kids were away. She had defensive wounds on her hands and arms, a fractured skull, and 19 separate blunt force strikes, according to court documents. She had to be identified by her dental records.

"I had been excited to tell Susann that I was moving closer to her and to know I'd never see her again was very hard," Scott said.

Smith's husband Alan Smith, who plead not guilty in July, is accused of the killing. He now sits in the Snohomish County Jail on $1 million bail and is scheduled to appear for trial June 13.

Scott thinks he did it.

"I definitely believe Susann's husband did that to her," she said. "When we met they were already having problems. But it was they way he was around her that frightened me; he was very arrogant and always put her down. Something was just off, I did not like him."

Scott recalled Susann telling her that Alan would fight ugly.

"He would get in Susann's face a lot; get close to her face and scream," Scott said. "He had a very patronizing tone of voice when he talked to her."

Scott said despite their disagreements, Susann fought to keep the family together.

"Last time I saw her she was trying to convince him to go to counseling because she didn't want her family to fall apart," Scott said. "She mentioned that he wasn't into counseling and said that if he wanted to separate she would stay here so the kids could see their dad. She never said anything about taking her kids back to Germany or moving."

Police contacted Alan after Susann was found dead on Feb. 12 at his work and wrote in court documents that “his reaction seemed rehearsed.” When told that a dead body was found at Susann’s residence, Alan did not ask any questions about the identity of the person and “did not offer any assistance to (police).”

He described his relationship with his estranged wife as “friendly” and told investigators that their separation had to do with “sex and the kids.” Investigators noted that his tone was angry. He also could not account for four hours on Feb. 10.

“Alan said he had no idea who would want to harm Susann,” investigators wrote. But when asked if he had harmed Susann or if there could be any of his DNA in her house, he did not immediately answer. He said that when he was at the house on Feb. 10 to pick up the children he was wrestling with his son and had his hair pulled.

Shortly after Susann's death, Alan moved back into their home and started dating a woman named Love Thai. Alan and Thai seemed to have a rocky relationship as police were called to Alan's home for various incidents during May 2013, including a report of Alan and Thai having sex in the front yard and for a domestic disturbance.

Thai died April 8 in Seattle. According to the King County Medical Examiner's Office, Thai committed suicide. Marks around her neck indicate she died from a rope or something around her neck.

"I hope he gets put behind bars," Scott said. "I especially hope her kids can be with their family. That would make me the happiest; to know that they were safe and happy."

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