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3 men arrested more than 16 years after woman's decapitated body found in Puget Sound

Shanan Lynn Read's decomposed body was found floating in a plastic container in Puget Sound on Jan. 15, 2006.

KITSAP COUNTY, Wash. — More than 16 years after a 33-year-old woman's body was found decapitated, three people have been arrested in Shanan Lynn Read's death. 

The Kitsap County Sheriff's Office (KCSO) said they worked with law enforcement across the country this week to take the three men into custody. A fourth suspect in the case has since died.

A 39-year-old man was arrested on Monday in Philadelphia. On Tuesday, a 42-year-old was taken into custody in Sarasota, Florida and a 34-year-old was arrested in Riverside, California. 

Read's decomposed body was found floating in a plastic container in Puget Sound on Jan. 15, 2006. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife turned the case over to the sheriff's office after responding to a suspicious object floating between Manchester and Blake Island and discovering the body. 

In March 2006, Read's head was discovered in the same general vicinity. She was identified using fingerprint analysis.  

The investigation found that Read was killed in August 2005, five months before her body was found, when she was struck in the head with a metal baton. 

She was injured at an apartment in Seattle, investigators found, then was taken to a cabin in Port Orchard where she died. For weeks, the suspects returned to the cabin owned by a family member and poured chemicals over her body to speed up decomposition, before disposing of her body.

“This is one of the more brutal cases that I've seen in 30 years of working here,” said Lt. Ken Dickins with KCSO.

A separate man, Michael Thomason, helped dump her body and was later convicted of unlawful disposal of human remains.

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Detectives identified four suspects in the murder, as they pursued leads and interviewed witnesses over the years. Over the past 10 months, investigators were finally able to confirm the participation of the four suspects.  

“We've had the opportunity to go out into different locations, interview different people that we were made aware of that had information on this case, in particular, Virginia, Florida,” said Jimmy Kilgallen, special agent with the United States Coast Guard Investigative Service.

In June 2022, a U.S. Coast Guard investigative service agent presented the case to the Kitsap County Prosecutor's Office, which then issued arrest warrants for three suspects living out of state. 

KCSO and the Coast Guard special agent partnered with multiple federal and state agencies to find and arrest the three men. 

All three face first-degree murder charges and are being held on $10 million bail. They are awaiting extradition to Washington state, where they will be booked into Kitsap County Jail.

No details were released about Read's relationship with the men or what lead to her death.

Assisting agencies included, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, the U.S. Marshall Service, and the Philadelphia, Sarasota and Riverside police departments. 

Kilgallen said he knows there are people who have information in the case and is asking them to come forward. 

“No human being ever deserves to be treated the way this woman was treated. No mother, no daughter, nobody.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

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