Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Blood Oath Murder

Sex Offender

Snohomish County Sheriff's detectives soon learned that Eric Christensen was a convicted felon and a Level 1 sex offender. He had been convicted in Oregon in the 1990s for first-degree sexual abuse. Additionally, Christensen had convictions for rape, assault, forgery, theft and domestic violence. In the assault case, Christensen had reportedly served 12 years in prison for firing shots at an ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend while they waited at a Seattle bus stop. At that time, he reportedly told detectives that he was following a tradition of his Scottish ancestors and had been "on a blood run" when the assault occurred.

Eric Christensen
Eric Christensen
"People shoot people where I come from and a girlfriend cheats on you," Christensen told police at one point. "I missed because the sights to the rifle were off."

When they found him on Wednesday, January 6, 2010, they noted that Christensen had a number of wounds on his body that may have been caused by fighting: numerous scratches on his face, forearms, lower back and shoulder, which they believed were inflicted by someone trying to fight him off. He also appeared to have a stab wound on his right knee.

He did not deny having argued with Sherry, and said that he may have lost a fingernail during the altercation. When investigators asked him how he had received his injuries, he claimed that he had been attacked by "Mexicans" after leaving Sherry's apartment. Christensen told detectives that he did not know Sherry's whereabouts or those of her car or her dog. He said that he had not seen her since they fought the previous Saturday.

The next day, detectives arrested Christensen for failing to register as a sex offender and placed him in the Snohomish County Jail. It bought them some time during which they did not have to be concerned about him fleeing, and they obtained a warrant to search his apartment.

During the search of Christensen's apartment, detectives confiscated a pair of basketball shoesthe sole pattern matched the bloody shoeprint they found on the T-shirt in Sherry's apartment. They also found a pair of blood-soaked jeans that someone had attempted to clean with bleach.

As far as the investigators were concerned, they had sufficient evidence at that point to continue holding their suspect. They explained to a Snohomish County judge that they believed Sherry Harlan was a homicide victim and they asked the judge to keep Christensen in jail on initial charges of second-degree murder, even though they had not yet found Sherry's body.

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