EVERETT, Wash. - Prosecutors say a man charged with murder in the death of his ex-girlfriend dismembered her body and asked a friend to drive him around Snohomish County to dispose of the remains.
Prosecutors say the friend eventually contacted investigators and led them to spots were body parts were recovered.
Eric Christensen of Gold Bar was charged Friday in Snohomish County Superior Court with first-degree murder in the slaying of 35-year-old Sherry Harlan.
Prosecutors say Harlan was killed sometime between Jan. 2 and 3 after Christensen found a text message from another man on her cellphone.
Court papers say the 40-year-old Christensen told police the message was evidence that Harlan had broken a "Wiccan blood oath" she'd made to break off a relationship with the other man.
Christensen told investigators, "breaking the blood oath.... would make Harlan a 'warlock,' literally an evil traitor."
Harlan was reported missing Jan. 5 after she failed to show up for work. Her burned-out car was found Jan. 7 on a road off U.S. Highway 2 with partial human remains inside.
Court documents say when police entered Harlan's apartment, blood was found in several places, and a bloody shoeprint was found on a t-shirt. There was a strong odor of bleach and evidence that someone had tried to clean up the apartment. Portions of flooring and carpeting had been cut up.
The documents say Christensen could be seen on store surveillance video driving Harlan's car and purchasing cleaning items.
Family, friends, co-workers hold candlelight vigil
About 80 relatives and friends of Sherry Harlan hosted a candlelight vigil on Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Alderwood JC Penney. Harlan had worked at the store since 2007, said family members.
Brother Jason Knoke remembers his sister smiling and laughing.
"She had a wonderful, wonderful, laugh, once you got her started it became infectious," he said.
And the vigil reflected that, fond memories and emotional hugs punctuated by laughs and chortles.
"Every day we worked together we'd try to see who we could shock with our laughs... snorting and honking and other strange noises," said co-worker Sandy Froehlich.
"She had the curliest hair," said co-worker Constance Wandel. "She lit up the room, she lit the area, she lit up my job."
"She was always there for me, every day I came to work," shared Rosario Bernaldez.
"Sherry loved life - she was happy go lucky. She loved shopping, and in particular for clothes. Her eyes always sparkled when she was happy. She really enjoyed her co-workers at JC Penney and being with her friends," said Harlan's mother, Cheryl Thomas.