UPDATE: Police have arrested Harlan's ex-boyfriend and are calling the case a homicide. Details after the jump.
Sherry Harlan may have been missing for as long as a week before a co-worker came knocking.
Sherry Harlan doesn't miss work often. So when she failed to show up for a few shifts after the holidays, her co-workers at the Lynnwood JCPenney's were understandably concerned.
One decided to check up on Harlan at her Everett apartment. When no one answered the door, a neighbor tracked down the building manager to let them in. Once inside, the neighbor told KOMO that the apartment looked like a war zone, with torn carpet and the overwhelming smell of bleach.
Another neighbor of Harlan's told the Seattle Times that the 35-year-old was dating a man who'd done time in prison and had been released the day after Christmas."She told me she wanted to break it off, but she was afraid he would break everything she owned and that he would hurt her," the neighbor told the Times. "He stressed her out. She told me herself that she was afraid of him. He broke her car; he broke her cellphone; he shot her dog in the eye with a BB gun."
A State Patrol crime lab spent most of Wednesday at Harlan's apartment collecting evidence. But so far, investigators aren't saying much beyond that Harlan's disappearance is suspicious.
Harlan's car is also missing. So if anyone sees a blue-ish-gray, four-door 1989 Nissan Sentra with Washington license-plate 928 RVN, call the Snohomish County's Sheriff's Office tip line at 425-388-3845.
UPDATE: The 40-year-old unidentified ex-boyfriend has prior convictions for assault, domestic violence and sexual abuse.
Police say they've found bloody clothing in the suspect's home and car. They also say he has scratches on his face and forearms and a stab wound on his knee.
Harlan remains missing.