OLYMPIA, Wash. — Police are investigating the death of a young Olympia homeless woman as a homicide.
Marea “Red” Hines’ family worried about her safety. For two years they said she chose to live in homeless encampments in Olympia and Tacoma.
In March, someone saw the 20-year-old’s body in the woods near an encampment off Martin Way in Olympia.
Her cause of death has not been determined by the medical examiner.
"We asked her many times to come back home,” said Wendell Hines, Marea Hines’ father. "It's just so hard to swallow your baby's gone at age 20."
He said Marea Hines, who he described as “strong-willed,” graduated from Olympia High School in 2020 and earned a cosmetology degree.
Hines’ sister, Venetia Hines, said Marea Hines was independent and liked living on her own, even on the streets.
"She had a lot of dreams and she wanted to break the generational curse of being poor, because we've grown up being poor and she wanted to change that,” said Venetia Hines.
Marea Hines received help from Danny Burkett’s non-profit organization, Our Ark, which offers shelter, food and job placement to homeless youth between the ages of 13 and 25. Burkett said they try and help youth within their first 24 to 48 hours on the streets.
"Because between those hours you can be grabbed up in the traffic trade, the sex trafficking trade," Burkett said. "You can be addicted to drugs within 24 hours."
The Hines family does not know what would have made someone want to hurt Marea Hines.
Anyone with information about her death is asked to contact Olympia police detectives at (360) 753-8300 or Crimestoppers at (800) 222-8477.
Hines’ friends organized an online fundraiser to help her family pay for a memorial service.