Skeletal remains found along the Mount Si trail near North Bend have been identified as those of Joe Lynn Owens, suspected of killing his wife last fall and burying her body in the yard of their West Seattle home.
Lynn apparently took his own life. He had what appeared to be a gunshot wound to his head, and a gun was found next to the remains, said a spokesman for the medical examiner's office. An autopsy was scheduled for today.
Seattle police spokeswoman Tina Drain said homicide detectives began looking into the connections between Joe Owen's remains and the murder of Gladys Owens because of evidence found at the scene. His identity was confirmed through dental records.
The remains were found Sunday afternoon by hikers near the popular hiking trail about a quarter-mile from the Mount Si Road, three miles east of North Bend.
Police said Joe Owens, 70, was last seen Sept. 7 in the North Bend area, where he left his pickup truck and walked into the woods. It was a day after he was questioned by police on his wife's whereabouts.
Gladys Owens, a piano teacher, was last seen by neighbors in mid-March of last year. Police started investigating her disappearance last September after two neighbors expressed concern about her.
Her husband, a former real-estate agent, had told people conflicting stories to explain her absence, authorities said.
Joe Owens had told neighbors his wife was in Kansas caring for
her ailing mother. He told relatives in Kansas she was in Vancouver, B.C., studying music, police said.
Court records indicated he told a local jeweler his wife died of a heart attack. Records also show that on Sept. 7 he called a nephew in Kansas and told him Gladys Owens committed suicide six months ago with an overdose of pills and that he buried her on family property near Mount Si.
The body of Gladys Owens, 79, was found last September under a false floor in a compost pit in their back yard. An autopsy showed she died from a gunshot to the back of the head. Joe Owens was charged, in absentia, with first-degree murder.