Northwest NEWS

May 7, 2001

Front Page

Detectives investigate circle of contacts in two Woodinville killings

by Jeanette Knutson
   Staff Writer
   If the police are right, the brutal Jan. 4 killing of Michael Emert and the grisly Feb. 9 discovery of Elaina Boussiacos' body are unrelated ... unrelated except for the fact that both slayings took place in Woodinville and both remain unsolved.
   Roughly four months ago, Emert, a 40-year-old real estate agent, was found stabbed more than 20 times in an upmarket Woodinville home. The homeowner discovered the body in an upstairs bathroom around 12:45 p.m.
   She had just returned home from an errand and said she did not know the found man, Emert, or why he was in her house.
   Police assumed he was showing the home to a client. The house was for sale; he was a real estate agent.
   But whether he was killed by the person or persons to whom he was showing the home or whether he walked into some sort of crime in process is not known.
   Emert's gold wedding ring studded with three vertical diamonds and his gold and stainless Breitling Chronomat watch were taken from his body.
   Missing, too, were his wallet, his cell phone and his black 2000 Cadillac Escalade sports utility vehicle. The personal jewelry was never found. The wallet was recovered at a pay phone inside the Coleman ferry dock complex within 24 hours of the incident.
   Police have the cell phone; where it was found has not been revealed. Emert's SUV showed up in a parking lot in Kirkland.
   But these clues, the wallet, the cell phone and the SUV not to mention the tips that came in, and continue to come in, after a $50,000 reward was offered for information leading to the conviction of the person(s) responsible for the Emert slaying have led to no suspect.
   Jeffrey John Solo, initially considered a "person of interest" because he fit the description of a client Emert mentioned to his wife the day before his death, "has been eliminated as being involved in the homicide," said King County Sheriff's Sgt. John Urquhart.
   That's not to say Solo had no connection to the case, but "it may not necessarily have been a criminal [connection]," said Urquhart.
   So the three full-time and half dozen part-time detectives assigned to the case not only lack a suspect, they also lack an apparent motive ... for now anyway. And this makes the case so confounding.
   "When you have a murder victim, you look at his background and look for a point where his and the suspect's paths cross," said Urquhart. But "there is nothing in Emert's background that would lead to a potential motive for killing him," he said.
   Without a motive, the case is all the more difficult to solve, explained Urquhart.
   "It's not impossible to solve, but it may take a while.
   "The Emert case is ... complicated. He had contacts with hundreds and hundreds of people. He grew up in Walla Walla, had his own business in the Tri Cities. He was a successful realtor; he dealt with many successful high-end people. All those people need to be contacted. They need to be traced through sales records and diaries.
   "You start with the victim, you move to his wife, his mother, his co-workers ... and the circle gets bigger and bigger. Most likely, the suspect knows the victim. So you keep investigating.
   "Eventually you run out of things to investigate, but by the same token, we could stumble across something today, or someone could come to us tomorrow; otherwise it could take days, months or years," Urquhart said.
   Notwithstanding the investigation that may lie ahead, Urquhart is confident the case will be solved.
   And the same confidence holds true for the Boussiacos case.
   The body of Elaina Boussiacos, 27, mother of a 10-year-old boy, was found in the trunk of her own black 1994 Nissan Stanza in early February.
   Her car was backed into a parking stall on the east side of a Woodinville athletic club parking lot on the Woodinville-Snohomish Road.
   Though the exact day the car was parked there is not known, store surveillance videotape recorded at 7 a.m. on Feb. 3 shows a man walking from the direction of the club toward a nearby shopping center just east of the club.
   The image of the man caught on tape is not clear, yet he is thought to be an adult male with dark hair, an athletic build, wearing a light-colored long-sleeved top and dark pants or jeans.
   Police would still like to talk to this man.
   And they are still waiting for lab analysis on blood evidence from the body and car trunk, said Urquhart.
   An investigation (similar to the Emert investigation) of the victim's family, friends and acquaintances continues. The scope of the Boussiacos investigation is much smaller than Emert's since she did not have the hundreds of business contacts he had. This bodes well for her case.
   "Both cases have the same high priority," said Urquhart.