Did Kino Gomez Flee to Die?

The accused murderer of a local sound engineer has been on the lam for over a month.

Where is Kino Gomez, and is he dead or alive? “They’re looking everywhere, but there’s no sign of him,” says Twisp Police spokesperson Vicki Hallowell, whose department is the lead agency in the hunt for the former King County road engineer accused of the July 17 murder of Seattle music producer and sound engineer Tom Pfaeffle, who had mistakenly tried to enter Gomez’s motel room in the Okanogan County town of Twisp (see SW‘s “Death’s Door,” Sept. 9).

King County sheriff’s spokesperson John Urquhart says he has nothing new to report either. Gomez, a Beacon Hill resident, has been on the lam since early September after sending his relatives what appeared to be a suicide note, claiming he was off to the mountains to kill himself and—feeling he’d already been publicly judged guilty—to “deprive society of the circus it so bloody craves.” Gomez indicated he was on a “one-way trip” and his demise would be “quick and painless.”

But a month later, there’s been no discovery of a body or a related abandoned vehicle. Authorities are trying to determine if he instead left the country—possibly for his native Philippines, where he was born Miguel Esquerra (he changed his name in the U.S. in the 1980s, when he was a state employee). Says a former co-worker, who requested anonymity: “Since the Twisp happening, I have been in contact with people that Miguel had hunted with…One did share that some incident in the past gave Miguel concerns for his personal safety. The fellow said that the matter was something from a political situation going back to the Philippines. One person also said that he did expect Miguel may be in trouble in the future due to his paranoia and carrying handguns at all times.”

Meanwhile, Colton Harris-Moore, the “Barefoot Burglar” making life miserable for authorities in and around sleepy Camano Island, is now the subject of a possible bidding war. Last Wednesday, SW was contacted by an anonymous film producer who claimed to have the ear of potential investors. The next day, another producer, identifying himself only as “Tim from Hollywood,” called, hoping that an anonymous e-mail account (barefootburgler@gmail.com—yes, the misspelling is correct) and the promise of sweet lucre will be enough to convince Harris-Moore to sell his story rights.

Tim’s pitch is pretty simple. He says he works for an independent company that has a “first-look” deal with a larger studio. (In Hollywood, this arrangement roughly means that the studio acts as a rich, if discerning, uncle, able to say yea or nay to a potential project before anyone else gets a glimpse.) While declining to actually list his bona fides, Tim claims that he currently has at least one show on network TV.

As for how much Harris-Moore should expect to earn from selling his story, Tim says anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000. But as he points out, that’s just the money Harris-Moore would get for the right to option his life story. Actually getting a movie made would mean another check.

So what to make of all this? Well, it’s clear there’s a special circle of hell reserved for us and Tim for essentially promoting this kid’s felonious lifestyle. Especially considering that as the tale gets richer, so do Tim and/or Harris-Moore. Tim’s take: To really sell the story, Harris-Moore should make his final criminal act on the biggest stage imaginable—like parachuting into a major sporting event. “The World Series is coming up,” says Tim. “He should think about that.”