Murder in Edmonds: The Shut-and-Open Case of Allison Nakashima, 15, and Her Elusive Killer

Allison at tolo with mik.jpg
It was a murder that threw Tere Ryder for a loop in 1976 and, almost 35 years later, for a couple more. In 2010, she had just moved to Edmonds where the decomposed body of her 15-year-old half sister Allison Nakashima was found dumped in a woodsy area in April, 1976 - a case that Ryder years ago had been told was solved. Then she found out it wasn't, and was.

Ryder and her partner Gayle Ketzel were at a local market waiting for a deli order when they noticed a uniformed Edmonds police officer standing nearby. Aware that Ryder had recently been wondering aloud about her half-sister's long-ago homicide, Ketzel asked the cop how they could find out more about an old murder case.

"He seemed surprised when I piped in with the name 'Allison Nakashima,'" Ryder recalls, "and he said they had just been going through her case boxes at the police station! I was shocked to find out that the case was still open."

As we report in this week's cover story, what Ryder later learned is that the murder of Allison Nakashima - one of just two unsolved homicides on Edmonds police books - is a shut and open case. It is solved, authorities feel, but not officially closed.

The killer has been identified, although he is not the man Ryder had thought was the murderer. And while police now confirm her long belief that the slaying was indeed solved, she's even less convinced today. "How can it be solved when it's open?" she asks of what has become a stubborn riddle in her life.

As an added twist, the man police say did the killing will never be convicted of it - or of any other slaying and numerous rapes from here to California that investigators suspect he committed.

"He's the genuine real deal," says Edmonds police detective Dave Honnen, "a serial rapist and killer, a Ted Bundy type. You probably never heard of him. The whole story's never been told." Until now.

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