A year of intensity: The Snoqualmie Valley's top stories of 2012 | Slideshow
December 28, 2012 · Updated 12:29 PM
The year that was one of the most intense years in the Valley.
A look back at website traffic on the Valley Record webpage shows that the most read stories of the year revolved around several high-profile, deadly events: The murders and arson fire that took the lives of the Keller family in North Bend, the death of a Carnation woman who went missing in April, and the shooting of a bear on Snoqualmie Ridge.
Other most-read stories had a lighter tone, including a look at the Valley's best-known timber athlete, David Moses, and and visit by a film crew who took the Snoqualmie railway depot back to its glory days.
The Valley Record's top 12 most read stories of 2012:
Excepts from these stories show the news at it appeared:
Deadly North Bend fire, April 24
Two women found dead inside a North Bend house that burned Sunday morning were not killed by the fire, but by gunshot wounds, the King County Medical Examiner's office reported Monday afternoon.
The women have not been identified by the Medical Examiner, yet, but are believed to be a mother and daughter who lived in the home, in the 47000 block of Southeast 159th Street. A third resident, Peter A. Keller, 41, is considered a "person of interest" in their deaths, according to the King County Sheriff's Office.
"We're not ruling him out as a suspect," said Cindi West, spokesperson for the sheriff's office, but for now, the department doesn't have enough evidence to indicate he is a suspect.
“We have two victims who have been shot and killed, weapons are missing from the house, and we have not been able to contact Keller. We want to talk to him to see if he had any involvement in this case,” Sheriff Steve Strachan told the Record
Search for a missing Carnation woman, May 4
On Saturday, May 5, a search and rescue team from the King County Sheriff's office will conduct another search for missing woman Lorene Bardy. The 53 year-old Carnation woman has not been seen since early the morning of Thursday, April 26.
She has life-threatening medical issues, requiring medication, which was found at the house. Searchers aren't sure what condition Bardy might be in, if found.
"We're going to be cautiously optimistic, and move forward," though, said Katie Larson with the sheriff's department.
The search on Saturday will be led by sheriff's staff, along with search and rescue volunteers.
"We're going to expand the perimeter around her house, move out farther," said Larson.
Bear killed, Sept. 12
A Snoqualmie man is under investigation for shooting and killing a large black bear near his home in The Heights on Snoqualmie Ridge.
Both the Snoqualmie Police Department and state Department of Fish and Wildlife are looking into the incident, which occurred just before midnight, Monday, Sept. 10.
Snoqualmie Police spokeswoman Becky Munson said police were called to the shooting in the 34000 block of Strouf Street at 11:45 p.m., and, after taking a report from the man, called the DFW to locate and recover the bear.
Chris Moszeter, enforcement officer with the DFW, said the bear was very large and healthy-looking, and didn't seem to be surviving on a diet of garbage, because it had a thick layer of fat.
Timber athlete David Moses, April 12
The oldest competitor in the field, David Moses may have something to teach the young bucks.
After all, Moses, 48, out-sawed and out-chopped seven other men in a major pro timber sports challenge.
The win, a climax of his career, came as a bit of a surprise to Moses. He just wanted to make it to the next level of competition.
"I was not expecting to have a day like I did," he said. "It's something a lot of pro competitors wish would happen."
At the Stihl Timbersports Series' Western Qualifier, held March 23 in Corvalis, Ore., Moses took first in five of six events, including the springboard chop, stock saw, standing block chop, underhand chop, and single buck chop. He was the fifth placer in the hot saw, or custom chainsaw competition. Moses thinks he may have throttled back in that last one because he already had competition as a whole well in hand, and didn't want to break his custom saw chain.
Lorene Bardy's body found at park, May 25
Two hikers in Tolt-MacDonald park may have ended a month-long man hunt with their discovery in Tolt-MacDonald Park Thursday afternoon.
The pair discovered the body of a woman as they explored the King County Park, just outside the city of Carnation. The victim has not been positively identified by the King County Medical Examiner yet, but she could be Carnation resident Lorene Bardy, missing since early Thursday morning, April 26.
"We don't know (it's Bardy), but we think that there's a good possibility," said King County Sheriff's spokesperson Cindi West. "It's very close to where she lived."
The hikers had left a park trail when they found the body near some water, West said.
"There did not appear to be foul play, but we won't know until the medical examiner's office states an official cause of death," she added.
Bardy, 53, reportedly had a life-threatening medical condition, which was treated by medication. However, her medications were found at her home after her disappearance.
Sheriff's deputies have conducted several searches for Bardy, in the area around her home, in the 29200 block of Northeast 52nd Street.
"We spent a lot of time looking for her," West said.
Because of Bardy's health issues, she added, if the body found Thursday is identified as Bardy, it would be a surprise to search and rescue staff, "that she was as far away from the house as she was."
Massive ice storm, January 19
Electricity may not be restored to the Snoqualmie Valley for several days, according to reports from Puget Sound Energy.
As residents lined up for gas or searched out warm food at some of the few open stores, city plows continued to battle Thursday's ice storm. The Washington State Department of Transportation is waiting for better conditions to reopen State Highway 202, closed this morning due to fallen trees and a landslide.
As of 1 p.m. Wednesday, about 200,000 Puget Sound Energy customers in Western Washington are without power, with outages occurring in more than 500 locations due to ice-encrusting tree limbs crashing on lines. Even with 140 extra power line crews called in from other parts of the country, PSE estimates that repairs could take three to four days for repairs, possibly longer.Roads also remain dangerous due to weather conditions. The Preston-Fall City Road closed Thursday morning, and Snoqualmie Parkway remains closed due to downed power lines at Fisher Avenue. Snoqualmie Police are waiting for Puget Sound Energy crews to determine when the road will open. Residents are asked not to touch power lines.
At the North Bend QFC, baristas Mary Gregory and Laura Hames worked in dim light, serving up coffees percolated by generator power. Customers were grateful.
"It's nice seeing their reaction: 'You have coffee!'" Gregory said. "They need to have something warm in their hands."
Blowing their way into the bunker, April 28
King County Sheriff’s SWAT team found what appears to be murder suspect Peter Keller's body, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot, after breaching a Rattlesnake Ridge bunker Saturday morning.
At around 10 a.m., the sheriff's TAC 30 team used an explosive to breach the roof of the heavily fortified hideout, which allowed enough access for the deputies to make their way inside. In the bunker, deputies discovered a body, which they said appeared to be Keller.
The Sheriff’s Office will use their bomb disposal unit to clear the bunker, to ensure there are no explosive or booby traps. Once the bunker has been cleared, detectives will enter it to begin a crime scene investigation. The King County Medical Examiner will determine the official cause of death and positively identify the body.
Bunker discovery, April
The King County Sheriff’s Office Friday located the bunker that homicide suspect Keller is believed to be hiding in, located in the hillside near the Rattlesnake Ridge trailhead above Snoqualmie.
In a press conference, King County Sheriff Steve Strachan related how teams carefully made their way into position around the well-hidden lair in an early morning operation Friday.
Intruder shot and killed at Si View, March 30
A North Bend man shot and killed an intruder who smashed his way into a Si View residence late Friday, March 30.
According to reports by the King County Sheriff’s Office, the resident, who is 46 years old, and his girlfriend were awakened just before midnight when a man threw a propane tank through their sliding glass door. They live at the 400 block of Orchard Drive.
Reports say that while the residents hid, they could hear the intruder rummaging through their belongings. The male resident warned the intruder several times that he had a gun, but the intruder refused to leave and threatened violence.
According to reports, the residents heard the intruder yelling, “Where are you? I’m going to kill you!”
The man at the home retrieved a handgun from his nightstand and yelled numerous times , "I have a pistol. Get out of my house!"
The couple locked themselves inside their bedroom, listening as the man kept ransacking the house, yelling that he was coming after them. When the intruder kicked down the door to the bedroom, the man fired at him. Deputies arrived to find the intruder dead on the floor just outside the room.
Plane crash at Mount Si, April 6
Questions continue to surround the plane crash that awoke North Bend residents early Wednesday, Feb. 15.
The plane, a Cessna 172 with one pilot and two passengers, was destroyed when it crashed into Little Si, killing all three aboard.
The King County Medical Examiner did not release the victims' names until Friday afternoon. The victims are Robert Hill, a 30 year-old male, Seth Dawson, a 31 year-old male, and Elizabeth Redling, a 29 year-old female.
What they were doing in the plane, where they came from, where they was headed, and why they were flying so near Little Si are all still unclear, according to National Transportation Safety Board Regional Chief Jeff Rich. No flight plan was filed, but that's not unusual in night flights with reasonably clear weather,
"What we know is it collided with mountainous terrain," he said, and the investigation, conducted by NTSB investigator Wayne Pollack, will attempt to answer the other questions.
The crash occurred after 1:30 a.m., estimated King County Sheriff spokesperson Cindi West, whose department took a couple of reports of a loud noise in the area at 1:55 a.m.
Murder suspect had fascination with guns, April 26
As King County officers searched the area for Peter Alex Keller this week, county prosecutors were compiling a case against him, including two first-degree murder charges and a count of first-degree arson.
Keller has been missing since Sunday, when a fire at his North Bend rental home at 47227 S.W. 159th St., was reported and firefighters discovered the bodies of his wife, Lynnettee, 41, and daughter, Kaylene, 18 both dead from .22 caliber gunshot wounds to the head, inside.
Keller was a person of interest in the case until Wednesday, April 25, when he was formally charged with the murders and setting the fire in King County Superior Court. If captured and convicted, he will be sentenced to between 51 and 65 years in prison.
County officials believe Keller is hiding somewhere in the woods, and are warning hikers and community members to be on the lookout for the man. He is believed to have a large number of firearms with him, since they are missing from the home.
Film crew at the Snoqualmie Depot, May 22
"Who would hang an umbrella on a hat rack?" a set dresser grumbles as she shifts the collection of umbrellas and old-fashioned hats hanging in the entry of the Northwest Railway Museum depot in Snoqualmie.
She's talking to herself, as she fusses with suitcases and furnishings in the depot, and there seems to be a lot of that going around Wednesday morning in Snoqualmie, as headset-wearing, clipboard-carrying creative types bustle around the depot and, kitty-corner across Railroad Avenue, an empty lot now overflowing with trailers and cars.
A film crew has set up camp in Snoqualmie, for two days of shooting an independent film called "You Can't Win." The movie, based on the book with the same name, will star Michael Pitt, of Boardwalk Empire, and follows the story of author, hobo and criminal Jack Black, from about 1880 to 1920. The film also relies heavily on trains, which is how the crew ended up in Snoqualmie, renting rail cars and the depot building for a setting.
"It's logistically very difficult to film on trains," said movie co-producer Matt Parker. "Finding these guys was hugely invaluable."
Fatal shooting after 'end of the world' tirade, Dec. 10
A King County sheriff’s deputy shot an out-of-control man in Fall City early Monday morning. The man, a homeless resident of the community, was taken to Harborview, where he later died.
According to sheriff’s spokesperson Cindi West, the man began an hours-long rant around 2:30 a.m. Monday in the Fall City Mobile Park in the 4300 block of Preston-Fall City Road, and became so aggressive by about 6:30 that “multiple” neighbors called 911.
“We understand from a witness that about 2:30, he was outside yelling ‘it’s the end of the world!’” West said.
Cheryl Hagen and her daughter, Christina, said they were wakened by the man’s screams. They were familiar with him, saying he walked by their neighborhood almost every day, talking to himself, but this morning, they were afraid.
“That’s why I called 911. We’ve never heard him like this before. His voice was so scary,” Cheryl said.