It will be two or three weeks before King County police can unravel the mysterious death of a North King County man whose body was found surrounded by occult symbols.
Prompted by information from a Fayetteville, N.C. woman - who told police the man felt his life was in jeopardy after a woman put a curse on him - King County police found the body of Christopher Case, 35, in an empty bathtub in his apartment in the 1300 block of North 152nd Street shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday. There was no evidence of foul play, but the presence of several crucifixes and piles of kosher salt throughout the apartment have baffled investigators.
King County Police Maj. Jackson Beard said the salt and the other objects found at the scene "have some significance in self-protection against demons or evil forces." A book, "Strange Customs," explains that salt is a devil repellent.
Police found lines of salt poured along the base of walls throughout the apartment, with piles at the corners. The same thing was done on the porch where the salt was poured in geometric designs.
"It's pretty clear he thought something was going on," said Beard of the deceased man.
However, Beard said, "the crime scene doesn't suggest that someone came in and did something to him."
Beard said police will know more when tests are done that determine if there were any toxic substances in his bloodstream. That will take at least two weeks.
"At this point, this is a suspicious death, something that needs to be explained," said Beard, who is commander of the King County police north precinct. "I don't believe there was any foul play. Obviously, though, I'd like to know what the toxicology report says.
"This could be a suicide, a natural death, or there could be something else going on here."
The unnamed woman who tipped off police was a friend of Case. She told police that Case felt his life was in jeopardy after a woman from San Francisco put a curse on him several weeks ago. Letters, notes and other written material found in the apartment appeared to support that information. There also was evidence that Case was seeking psychic help to ward off the curse.
Sammye Souder, a woman from North Carolina who telephoned The Seattle Times, believes Case may have died from fright. She said Case had called her several times over the past few weeks expressing strong fear for his life.
"He said he met a women who was a witch and was attempting to get him to be enamored of her. When he refused to respond, the woman supposedly put a curse on him," said Souder.
Souder, who expressed shock at his death, said she had known Case for 10 years and that he always had been stable. But a week ago, she said, Case called and left a message on her recorder that "people are trying to do things to me." He did not elaborate.
"He left the same message with our friend in Fayetteville. He was frantic," she said.
Both women tried to contact Case by phone several times over the next three days. Finally, the woman in Fayetteville called King County police and expressed concern over Case's welfare.
Souder said police went to the apartment a couple of times, but there was no response. It was locked during those times, but when police returned the last time, the door was unlocked, she said.
Police found lines of salt poured around the base of walls throughout the apartment and on the porch.