UPDATE: Swansonville murder suspect in jail; autopsy reveals cause of La Push woman's death

By Leader Staff
Posted 7/23/15

UPDATED 6 p.m. July 27

Jefferson County prosecutors charged a Swansonville man with murder July 27 after a La Push woman was found dead in his bed July 23.

Evan Daniel Thompson, 33, is now …

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UPDATE: Swansonville murder suspect in jail; autopsy reveals cause of La Push woman's death

Posted

UPDATED 6 p.m. July 27

Jefferson County prosecutors charged a Swansonville man with murder July 27 after a La Push woman was found dead in his bed July 23.

Evan Daniel Thompson, 33, is now housed at the Jefferson County Jail in Port Hadlock.

On July 27, Thompson was released from Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where he had been taken July 23 after deputies found him lying in his backyard with self-inflicted cuts to his wrists and a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head.

The preliminary results of a July 27 autopsy of Virginia Guadelupe Castaneda, 20, of La Push, Washington show the cause of her death to be asphyxiation due to strangulation, according to Michael Haas, Jefferson County prosecutor and coroner.

“I can't imagine anything changing that finding,” said Haas, who is later expected to release the final results of his autopsy based on tissue samples, for example.

Thompson is charged in Jefferson County Superior Court with second-degree murder, which is a class A felony.

Thompson is a Class of 2000 Chimacum High School graduate.

Castaneda is a Class of 2013 Forks High School graduate. She and Thompson had been dating for about one year, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. The Quileute Tribal Council made grief counselors available to tribal members who knew Castaneda.

"We are shocked and saddened by the events surrounding the loss of Virginia Castaneda,” the Tribal Council wrote July 27 through spokeswoman Jackie Jacobs. “Virginia grew up in the La Push community and we are all impacted by the enormity of this unthinkable loss. We want to send our heartfelt condolences and prayers to all family and friends.

Grief counselors were available last week to help those learning about the death.

Jacobs said the tribe would assess its needs as more information is made available.

(This story to be updated on July 29.)

UPDATED 6 p.m. July 24

The Swansonville man suspected of murdering a La Push woman and attempting suicide July 23 remains hospitalized, though officials expect his release next week.

A Friday, July 24 text message from Jefferson County Sheriff's Office detective Brett Anglin to county Prosecutor and Coroner Michael Haas described the suspect as awake, talking and out of Harborview Medical Center's intensive care unit.

The suspect – Evan Daniel Thompson, 33, of Jefferson County – was airlifted by helicopter July 23. A Harborview spokesperson could not confirm Thompson's condition July 24 due to a patient privacy request.

Once released from the Seattle hospital, where a county deputy remains on guard, Thompson would be transported to the county's jail in Port Hadlock.

An autopsy of the apparent murder victim – Virginia Guadelupe Castaneda, 20, of La Push, Washington – is set for Monday, July 27, officials said.

Law enforcement has been hesitant to comment on her cause of death before completion of an autopsy.

“It could still be a gun shot wound, strangulation, suffocation, or multitude of other plausible causes,” Anglin wrote in an email to the Leader.

UPDATED 5 p.m. July 23

A Clallam County woman is dead and a Jefferson County man with a self-inflicted gunshot wound has been hospitalized in Seattle, and arrested on suspicion of her murder Thursday, July 23.

The victim has been identified as Virginia Guadelupe Castaneda, 20, of La Push, Washington, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.

Undersheriff Joe Nole said the motive is unknown.

The suspect, Evan Daniel Thompson, 33, is a patient at Harborview Medical Center, with a Jefferson County Sheriff's Office deputy on watch. Thompson has been arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder and listed on the jail inmate roster as of 9:53 a.m. July 23.

Thompson is a Chimacum High School Class of 2000 graduate.

The incident occurred at the house the suspect shared with his parents in the Swansonville area west of Port Ludlow. The victim was not a resident there. Nole described her as Thompson's girlfriend; her identity was not determined until Thursday afternoon.

The first 911 emergency call came at 5:32 a.m. from the suspect's mother, Nole said. The suspect's parents were not there when the incident occurred, he noted.

Port Ludlow Fire and Rescue personnel were dispatched at 5:34 a.m. and arrived on scene at 6:05 a.m., according to fire district records.

The first county deputy arrived on scene at 5:39 a.m. A deputy found a man in the backyard of the residence with cuts on his wrists and a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to a press release from JCSO.

Port Ludlow Fire and Rescue treated the man before he was airlifted to Harborview. The suspect is expected to survive, Nole said. The JCSO executed a search warrant for the suspect's DNA and blood, and other trace evidence, Nole said.

At some point during the initial response, a deputy cleared the house and found a female victim in an upstairs bedroom. Medical personnel confirmed she was deceased, and a deputy sealed the apparent crime scene.

Then JCSO called in the Washington State Patrol Crime response team.

"They'll assist us with working the crime scene, collecting trace evidence, and doing diagramming and things like that," said Nole, adding that the JCSO is "fortunate" a team from elsewhere in Western Washington is able to respond on the same day. The first crime scene investigators arrived at around 1:45 p.m. July 23.

East Jefferson Fire Rescue and Port Townsend Police also responded to this call.

(This story to be updated as more information becomes available.)

UPDATED 6 p.m. July 24

The Swansonville man suspected of murdering a La Push woman and attempting suicide July 23 remains hospitalized, though officials expect his release next week.

A Friday, July 24 text message from Jefferson County Sheriff's Office detective Brett Anglin to county Prosecutor and Coroner Michael Haas described the suspect as awake, talking and out of Harborview Medical Center's intensive care unit.

The suspect – Evan Daniel Thompson, 33, of Jefferson County – was airlifted by helicopter July 23. A Harborview spokesperson could not confirm Thompson's condition July 24 due to a patient privacy request.

Once released from the Seattle hospital, where a county deputy remains on guard, Thompson would be transported to the county's jail in Port Hadlock.

An autopsy of the apparent murder victim – Virginia Guadelupe Castaneda, 20, of La Push, Washington – is set for Monday, July 27, officials said.

Law enforcement has been hesitant to comment on her cause of death before completion of an autopsy.

“It could still be a gun shot wound, strangulation, suffocation, or multitude of other plausible causes,” Anglin wrote in an email to the Leader.

UPDATED 5 p.m. July 23

A Clallam County woman is dead and a Jefferson County man with a self-inflicted gunshot wound has been hospitalized in Seattle, and arrested on suspicion of her murder Thursday, July 23.

The victim has been identified as Virginia Guadelupe Castaneda, 20, of La Push, Washington, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.

Undersheriff Joe Nole said the motive is unknown.

The suspect, Evan Daniel Thompson, 33, is a patient at Harborview Medical Center, with a Jefferson County Sheriff's Office deputy on watch. Thompson has been arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder and listed on the jail inmate roster as of 9:53 a.m. July 23.

Thompson is a Chimacum High School Class of 2000 graduate.

The incident occurred at the house the suspect shared with his parents in the Swansonville area west of Port Ludlow. The victim was not a resident there. Nole described her as Thompson's girlfriend; her identity was not determined until Thursday afternoon.

The first 911 emergency call came at 5:32 a.m. from the suspect's mother, Nole said. The suspect's parents were not there when the incident occurred, he noted.

Port Ludlow Fire and Rescue personnel were dispatched at 5:34 a.m. and arrived on scene at 6:05 a.m., according to fire district records.

The first county deputy arrived on scene at 5:39 a.m. A deputy found a man in the backyard of the residence with cuts on his wrists and a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to a press release from JCSO.

Port Ludlow Fire and Rescue treated the man before he was airlifted to Harborview. The suspect is expected to survive, Nole said. The JCSO executed a search warrant for the suspect's DNA and blood, and other trace evidence, Nole said.

At some point during the initial response, a deputy cleared the house and found a female victim in an upstairs bedroom. Medical personnel confirmed she was deceased, and a deputy sealed the apparent crime scene.

Then JCSO called in the Washington State Patrol Crime response team.

"They'll assist us with working the crime scene, collecting trace evidence, and doing diagramming and things like that," said Nole, adding that the JCSO is "fortunate" a team from elsewhere in Western Washington is able to respond on the same day. The first crime scene investigators arrived at around 1:45 p.m. July 23.

East Jefferson Fire Rescue and Port Townsend Police also responded to this call.

(This story to be updated as more information becomes available.)

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