Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Blood Oath Murder

The Next Day

The following morning, investigators obtained a search warrant, and Sherry Harlan's small apartment was scoured for clues by detectives from the Snohomish County Sheriff's Department and technicians from the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab, according to Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Rebecca Hover.

Rebecca Hover
Rebecca Hover
"Right away we knew it was very unusual," Hover said.

Although police were not saying much at first, the neighbor who went with Sherry's coworker to her apartment the previous evening said that the state of the apartment was clearly suspicious.

"Torn up carpet, torn up linoleum, bleach everywhere," the neighbor said. "It's like the whole place was turned into a war zone, like it was done in a real hurry."

The neighbor also said that he and his wife had seen an unfamiliar man hanging around Sherry's apartment, possibly about the time she disappearedwhich investigators had not yet been able to pinpoint.

As they worked throughout the day collecting evidence from Sherry's apartment, it became clearer to everyone involved that her disappearance was indeed suspicious. Investigators found a bloody shoe print on a T-shirt, bolstering theories that there had been foul play. The print had a distinctive zig-zag pattern, and detectives hoped that they could match it after a suspect had been identified.

Detectives also found blood in several locations of the apartment, along with other human tissue, and confirmed earlier suspicions that someone had tried to sanitize the unit with bleach. In addition to determining that approximately 18 square feet of carpet had been removed, detectives noted that there were several cuts in a futon mattress. All indications were that a violent struggle had occurred recently in Sherry's apartment.

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