by Jeff Switzer
What began as a search for a missing person took a tragic turn as divers found the body of 18-year-old Michael J. Schuerhoff in the Sammamish River on Friday, 100 yards south of the train trestle near Wayne Golf Course. Medical examiners said Schuerhoff had drowned.
"We believe some degree of force was used in either pushing or throwing the victim off of the trestle," said Capt. Bob Woolverton of the Bothell Police Department.
Police have arrested five juveniles from the Mountlake Terrace area, ages 16 to 17, in connection with the homicide investigation. They are expected to be charged with first-degree murder.
Schuerhoff had last been seen the evening of Jan. 2 at approximately 10:25 p.m. with about eight friends in the area of the Burke-Gilman Trail.
Schuerhoff's friends told police they were walking on the trail from a location near the Wayne Golf Course to Blythe Park, but turned back when they realized that the park was closed.
They said Schuerhoff walked ahead of the others, who stopped momentarily on their way back to their cars. When they began again, Schuerhoff could not be found, his companions said.
He failed to show up for his classes at Cascadia High School, and investigators began looking for him on Wednesday, Jan. 3.
His family drew up a poster and then distributed it in the area after police described his disappearance as suspicious.
Covering their bases, King County Police and Renton Fire department divers began searching the river for Schuerhoff on Wednesday. They found his body at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 5.
Cause of death is not known at this time, and investigators have yet to file charges in the case.