Patrick Shunn and Monique Patenaude have been missing since Monday, and the hunt for the missing Washington couple took a dark turn on Friday when investigators found their abandoned car at the bottom of an embankment with what they said was “extensive damage.”
The husband and wife were last seen early this week, and were reported missing by their neighbors on Tuesday. Late this week a sheriff’s helicopter found the couple’s two vehicles in a remote, forested area and began a foot search from there.
“The vehicles were approximately 200 feet from each other and had extensive damage,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release issued Friday night (via the Q13 Fox).
— Missing Veterans (@MissingVeterans) April 16, 2016
The search for Patrick Shunn and Monique Patenaude has now centered on that wooded area, but authorities leading the search said the next steps will not be easy.
“It’s a very difficult place to get to, even on foot,” said sheriff’s spokeswoman Shari Ireton (via the Seattle Times). “Whatever the vehicles reveal will lead us to our next step.”
The disappearance of Patrick Shunn and Monique Patenaude is especially troubling to friends and family, who described them as a happy couple with no apparent problems. It surprised neighbors who noticed that the couple’s dogs and livestock were left unattended, prompting them to contact police.
But court records show that the husband and wife had a dispute with a neighbor, who Shunn and Patenaude claimed harassed them and trespassed on their property with dogs and recreational vehicles. The couple sought a restraining order against one neighbor, but the petition was dismissed by a local court commissioner who determined that the issues involving the neighbor’s dogs were unintentional.
Some family members say they fear the worst given the unusual circumstances of their disappearance. Patrick’s brother, Erik, said on social media this week that he had “a bad gut feeling on this one.”
The disappearance of Shunn and Patenaude comes just a few days after another missing person case gripped the Seattle area. Last week, 40-year-old mother Ingrid Lyne went missing after a date with a man she had met online. One day after her disappearance, a homeowner in Seattle found body parts stuffed into plastic bags and placed in recycling bins, remains that police later matched to Lyne.
Investigators described a grisly scene at Lyne’s home, with spatters of blood and bits of flesh found in Lyne’s bathtub near a 15-inch pruning saw. Police arrested Lyne’s boyfriend, John Charlton, and charged him with her murder.
They said Charlton admitted in an interview that he was “not normal,” but he offered few details on the alleged murder and said he was too intoxicated to know what happened to Lyne on Friday night.
— People Magazine (@people) April 15, 2016
“We may never understand why she was killed,” Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said (via People Magazine) in announcing the first-degree murder charge against Charlton. “[T]he police and prosecutors working on this case have done a tremendous job of piecing together a solid case against the person we believe to be responsible for her death.”
Charlton had a long history of violence, with arrests in six states including nearly two years spent in a Montana prison for forcing a mother and infant out of a van and then stealing the vehicle.
Police have not said if they suspect foul play in the disappearance of Shunn and Patenaude.
Anyone with information on the disappearance of Patrick Shunn and Monique Patenaude is asked to call the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office anonymous tipline at 425-388-3845.
[Image via police handout]