It has been over 15 years since Karen Bodine was murdered; her nude body posed and left near a Washington state gravel pit. Who Killed Karen Bodine?
Karen Bodine was a 37-year-old mother of three living in Olympia, Washington. She was loving and creative–known to streak her hair with pink highlights and leave secret notes in her kid’s school notebooks as a way to let them know she was thinking of them. While she struggled with substance abuse; her family and friends remember her as a loving mother, daughter, and friend.
The last time Karen was seen alive
On Sunday, January 21, 2007, Karen was wandering through the streets of Lacey, Washington when a neighbor noticed her and called the police. When police arrived, Karen brushed them off telling them she was fine, despite not wearing a winter coat despite the cold. After lots of insisting, the officer left. At the time Karen was staying with a friend, she had left her parent's home after an intense domestic incident with her boyfriend, resulting in a protection order.
The next day, Monday, January 22, Karen was staying with that same friend and many other house guests at the time who were known to do drugs. They reported seeing her around 3 AM when she left the house on foot. This would be the last time Karen would be seen alive.
When she was discovered
The next morning on January 23, 2007, Karen’s nude body was discovered at the entrance of a gravel pit on Little Rock Road in Rochester, Washington— approximately 30 miles from her home. A witness would tell police they saw a small, brown early 1980s Datsun with a lighter color camper shell seen around 7:50 am at the gravel road entrance. Despite being found in an unnatural position, investigators determined that there were no signs of sexual assault but she was strangled; but her body was left in a position that would suggest that the murderer “wanted the shock value.”
Additionally, Karen was completely nude with a ligature around her neck. Multiple DNA profiles were identified on the ligature and sent off for testing–which has still not been shared to this day. Law enforcement are hoping advancements in DNA technology will result in answers. The detective in the case is quoted as saying: “...when you have a case that has as little evidence as this one does and has gone on as long as it has, more than one person was probably involved."
Where the case stands today
It’s been15 years and Karen’s case remains unsolved, but her children are still actively fighting for answers for their mother. In 2019, her children participated in a CrimeCon-sponsored event aimed at sharing details of her case with the public in hopes of finding additional information, and earlier this year her case was featured on "Still a Mystery: A Community Betrayal" on the ID Channel. Her daughter Karlee also maintains several billboards in the area where she was last seen hoping someone will come forward with information.
But all these years later her family is still left wondering: who killed Karen? Was she a victim of a random attack or something more sinister? Can the DNA collected at the scene lead to answers?
If you have any information regarding Karen's case, please call Crime Stoppers of the South Sound at (800) 222-TIPS (8477) or Detective Mickey Hamilton at (360) 786-5279.