Bellevue police make quick arrest in elderly woman's murder

BELLEVUE, Wash. -- A traffic stop led to a murder suspect's arrest, just hours after police found an elderly woman dead inside her apartment.

It started when a family member called Bellevue Police to a downtown apartment after discovering an elderly relative dead inside her second-story unit. Investigators say the caller initially couldn't get inside, then used a ladder to access a window and find the body.

When officers arrived they ruled the death suspicious. Neighbors were left to deal with a shattered sense of safety.

"Being over in the F complex, it's kind of alarming, especially when you have young children," said Marc Ryerson, who lives two buildings over.

Detectives questioned a roommate of the 72-year-old victim, as well as several neighbors. Within hours officers made an arrest.

"This was not a random act, and we do have a suspect in custody for murder 1," said Officer Carla Iafrate with the Bellevue Police Department.

The arrest came during a traffic stop, and jail records identify the suspect as 53-year-old Mark Irwin. He has a lengthy criminal history with prior convictions for robbery and auto theft. Investigators won't say how they linked Irwin to this murder, or even if he is the victim's roommate.

Neighbors think the killer had to have some way inside the building. Long-time resident Sally Dugan says the security at the complex is "phenomenal," adding that visitors have to pass through multiple locked doors, and even the elevator needs a special key.

"That's why it's a shock for it to be a murder," she said. "It's very very shocking."

Detectives won't discuss many details, saying the investigation is still in its early stages.

"The good news again to the public is that this is not a random act, and we do have the suspect in custody for murder 1," Iafrate said.