SEATTLE — A man accused of stabbing a woman to death Monday morning at an apartment building in Seattle's Belltown area waived his right Tuesday to appear in court as prosecutors laid out some details of what happened during the violent attack.
Hans Dewey Van-Belkum, 58, remained at the King County Jail without bond on Tuesday in connection with the slaying of Kristin Benson, who worked as a housing case manager for the company that managed the building. The suspect is expected to return Wednesday to court, where he could be formally arraigned.
Officers and medics responded to the Scargo-Lewiston apartment building near 1st Avenue and Blanchard Street, at about 10:45 a.m. Monday after receiving reports of a stabbing at the residential mid-rise, which houses people who were formerly homeless.
When police arrived, they found Benson suffering from severe knife puncture wounds, investigators said. Police and medics tried to save her life but she died at the scene, authorities have said.
Police said Van-Belkum lived in the building but initially fled from the scene after the attack. He was arrested later in the day after an hours-long search.
He was taken into custody in Seattle just before 4 p.m. Monday, police said.
Prosecutors said the man struggled with mental illness, and he may have been upset because of his belief that his Social Security benefits were going to be taken from him.
According to her LinkedIn page, Benson had worked for Plymouth Housing for nearly eight years.
Residents in the building who knew her described her as beloved and highly respected as someone who did her all for residents.
"She loved her job," said Jolene Paris, who lived inside the building. She just wanted to help us."
Others who knew her also shared fond memories of the slain woman.
"She was so kind and loving and with open arms all the time," friend Jessie Parry said. "She was never afraid and always approached people with kindness."
"Kristin would be the first one to forgive this man," friend Cat Stulik said. "She would!"
Stulik said the two had discussed the possibility of Benson being targeted but Benson dismissed such concerns.
"She always felt safe," Parry said.
A spokeswoman for Plymouth Housing said Monday that the staff of the non-profit was trying to come to terms with the killing.
"We’re devastated, obviously," Amanda Vail said. "We’re putting all of our focus on supporting our staff and our residents."
Plymouth Housing issued a statement saying, "We are devastated by the sudden and tragic loss of life at one of our properties today. We are working closely with the Seattle Police Department on the ongoing investigation. At this time, we are concentrating fully on supporting our staff and residents throughout the tight-knit Plymouth Housing community."
Vail said Tuesday in a written statement that the firm is reviewing its security protocols in the wake of the killing.
"Additional security is one option," she said in the statement.
Idriss Bonkno said Benson was always willing to help others and would be missed.
"No matter what you asked her, she would never say no," Bonkno said. "She would always have a smile on her face. She definitely doesn’t deserve this."
Find out more about crime in this Seattle neighborhood and others at KOMO's Alertnest page