Feb. 17—Matthew Anfeldt, Karen Bodine, Nancy Moyer and Logan Schiendelman are familiar names to many South Thurston County residents for the mystery still surrounding their cases.
But those names are just four of over 30 unsolved missing or murdered persons cases in Thurston County.
The oldest active Thurston County missing persons case on record with the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) dates back to 1963, with the most-recent case occurring in July 2022.
Additionally, there were eight sets of human remains found in Thurston County between 1981 and 2018 that remain unidentified, according to NamUs.
Rochester resident Vivian Boheme said she was shocked to learn those numbers when she started researching the area's cold cases last year.
"I started to look at that and I was like, 'How come we're not hearing about that?'" Boheme said.
Boheme earned a degree in forensic genetic genealogy, the use of DNA and other genealogical methods to generate leads for detectives investigating crimes and identifying human remains, in September. She ended up connecting with Karen Bodine's daughter, who lives in the Rochester area, and delving further into cold case research.
Being the past victim of a violent crime herself and having known both victims and perpetrators of other violent crimes, Boheme said, "It's been very near and dear to me to make sure that things are handled appropriately, respectfully, for both parties involved and (their) families. I've seen how some families can move on when they get answers, and I see families who are not able to."
In an effort to raise awareness for unsolved cases in Thurston County and to show victims and their families that they have not been forgotten, Boheme started the Facebook page Thurston County Cold Cases, also known as Southwest Washington Cold Cases, in December 2022. The page, which is not affiliated with any law enforcement agency, features publicly-available information related to cold cases and active missing persons cases across Southwest Washington.
"To be completely honest, the goal of the page is simply to show the victim respect and to honor them as they deserve," Boheme said.
The secondary goal of the page is to keep the victims' cold cases in the public eye, which could encourage someone with possible information that could help advance the case to come forward.
"My only hope is to get answers or to give some sort of results to families to be able to take a breath and say, 'OK, we can move on' or be able to realize that they can close that book and began to celebrate the person and celebrate their life without having to think about how it ended," Boheme said.
Boheme also wants to showcase her field, forensic genetic genealogy, as a tool that can be used in the investigation of cold cases.
In that vein, the page also features reports on cold cases in Washington that have been solved or advanced thanks to forensic genetic genealogy.
Contrary to popular belief, DNA doesn't usually identify a definitive suspect in a case, Boheme said, but it can guide detectives down the right path.
"I can look at the case, I can tell you where DNA could be, I could tell you what type of DNA we could possibly test ... all that kind of stuff," said Boheme. "I only hand over a person of interest ... saying 'this is where the DNA led me, but I don't know if it's them or not. That's detective work.'"
Boheme has expressed interest in speaking to Thurston County Sheriff Derek Sanders about the possibility of using forensic genetic genealogy and DNA testing to help solve cold cases, but the continuance of those investigations depends on the sheriff's office having a detective to pursue them.
"It's always going to come back to a staffing issue," Sanders told a Chronicle reporter last week, adding that he has six detectives working and six vacant detective positions. "So it's like, 'what do you do with these cases? How do we prioritize missing persons cases over the homicide that occurred last night, or all these other things, the rape cases that continue to come in?'"
To help solve that issue, Sanders said he plans to ask for a full-time missing persons/cold cases investigator position to be added to the department's budget.
That person will be the sole point of contact for cold cases and active missing persons cases, Sanders said.
"We want to investigate the unsolved missing persons and cold cases, we also don't want to let them get to the point where they're a homicide, so we want half of that (job) to be a proactive approach to missing persons," said Sanders.
If the position is approved for the sheriff department's budget, the department will be able to hire a detective for that position beginning in the next budget cycle.
"There is energy. And I know it's never going to be fast enough for any of these families. I totally recognize that. But the effort is there," Sanders said, later adding, "They know I can't promise a solution, I can't promise that a case gets solved. My promise is I'm going to try and at least give it the attention it deserves."
Thurston County Cold Cases/Southwest Washington Cold Cases is accessible online at https://www.facebook.com/SouthwestWashingtonColdCases.
More information on active missing persons and unidentified persons cases, visit https://namus.nij.ojp.gov/.
Thurston County Unsolved Missing/Murdered Person Cases
—Victoria Rayment, last seen in Olympia on July 19, 2022 at the age of 15.
—Whitney Wilken, last seen in Lacey on Oct. 24, 2019 at the age of 31.
—Susan Lundy, last seen in Olympia on June 30, 2019 at the age of 58.
—Matthew Anfeldt, last seen in Rochester on Feb. 28, 2019 at the age of 20.
—Jennifer Pagel, last seen in Olympia on Dec. 29, 2017 at the age of 28.
—Christine Wagner, last seen in Olympia on Oct. 10, 2016 at the age of 67.
—Gail Doyle, last seen in Olympia on June 2, 2016 at the age of 60.
—Logan Schiendelman, last seen in Tumwater on May 19, 2016 at the age of 19.
—Steven Billman, last seen in Rochester on Jan. 10, 2014 at the age of 26.
—Willard Bennett, last seen in Olympia on Nov. 12, 2013 at the age of 73.
—Ryan Mayer, last seen in Olympia on Nov. 10, 2013 at the age of 33.
—Shantina Smiley, last seen in Olympia on March 13, 2010 at the age of 29.
—Nancy Moyer, last seen in Tenino on March 6, 2009 at the age of 36.
—Christopher Waltson, last seen in Olympia on June 29, 2007 at the age of 35.
—Gilbert Gilman, last seen in Hoodsport on June 24, 2006 at the age of 47.
—Karen Bodine, murdered by strangulation at the age of 37. Her body was found on Sargent Road Southwest in Rochester on Jan. 22, 2007.
—Jared Gigena, last seen in Rainier on Sept. 5, 2002 at the age of 20.
—Jonathan Corey, last seen in Olympia on Feb. 1, 2002 at the age of 20.
—Michelle Dickerman, last seen in Lacey on April 28, 2001 at the age of 41.
—Spencer Jolley, last seen in Lacey on May 12, 2000 at the age of 25.
—Craig Moilanen, last seen in Olympia on Jan. 6, 1999 at the age of 46.
—Bruce DeVoe, last seen in Tenino on Nov. 4, 1997 at the age of 40.
—James Henson, last seen in Olympia on Feb. 23, 1995 at the age of 56.
—Delight Watson, last seen in Lacey on May 12, 1993 at the age of 40.
—Consuelo Vannausdle, last seen in Lacey on May 1, 1993 at the age of 31.
—Allan Hill, last seen in Yelm on Sept. 18, 1987 at the age of 30.
—Karan Brown, last seen in Olympia on Jan. 1, 1980 at the age of 26.
—Russell Ashmun, last seen in Olympia on Sept. 22, 1979 at the age of 22.
—David Boniske, last seen in Olympia on July 23, 1977 at the age of 21.
—Donna Manson, last seen in Olympia on March 12, 1974 at the age of 19.
—Christopher Bridgeman Jr., last seen on Jan. 1, 1963 at the age of 33.
Eight sets of unidentified remains were found in Thurston County between 1981 and 2018, according to NamUS. Of those eight, three were found in Olympia, one was found in rural Thurston County and one — an Asian male estimated to be between 20 and 50 years old — was found in Yelm.