Police say woman was killed inside Bellingham home

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- What began as a suspicious death investigation is taking a disturbing turn. Bellingham police now believe a woman was murdered, and were processing the crime scene more than 24 hours after her body was discovered.

When Mary Harrington first arrived at her home on 12th Street, she found it wrapped in yellow police tape and thought there must have been an accident. Then she learned her downstairs tenant was dead.

"The fact that somebody came into my house, into my house, and killed her. I can't stand it," Harrington said, fighting back tears.

Detectives said the victim's co-worker came to the door on Sunday when the woman didn't show for work.

"She went to the house to knock on the door," said Lt. Bob Vander Yacht with the Bellingham Police Department. "She was able to peer through a window and see what appeared to be a body."

Investigators initially ruled the case a suspicious death. Now it's a homicide investigation.

"There were some injuries to the body that would lead us to believe that she didn't die of her own hands," Vander Yacht said.

It's unclear when the 59-year-old woman died. Detectives said it could have been Saturday or Sunday. Harrington can't imagine who would want to hurt the woman.

"She was great," she said. "She was a hairdresser, did a beautiful job, and had really developed a lot of friends around here."

While police gathered evidence, Harrington met with the victim's family and tried to offer what comfort she could.

"I just loved her, and we had gotten to be such good friends," Harrington said. "It's like having part of my family taken away."

Although witnesses confirmed the victim's name, KOMO 4 is waiting for the Whatcom County Medical Examiner to officially confirm her identity and cause of death.

Police would not discuss the nature of the victim's injuries, saying that was critical to their investigation. However, investigators did add that a murder weapon has not been located.