Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Blood Oath Murder

Burned-Out Car and Body Parts

On Thursday, January 7, 2010, a burned-out car belonging to Sherry Harlan was found in an area near Reiter Pit, approximately two-and-a-half miles up Reiter Road, not far from the community of Gold Bar and near U.S. Highway 2. According to Snohomish County Sheriff's spokeswoman Rebecca Hover, the car contained the partial remains of a human body. It was eventually revealed that the "partial" remains had consisted of a human head. A knife was also found inside the vehicle. Although everyone suspected they had discovered what had become of Sherry Harlan, the human remains were collected by the county medical examiner's office where positive identification would be attempted using DNA technology. A short time later there was no longer any doubt, if there had been any to begin withthe head in Sherry's torched car was positively identified as Sherry Harlan.

Two days after the discovery of Sherry's burned-out car, a friend of Eric Christensen contacted police. In a shocking revelation, he reported that he had helped Christensen, at Christensen's request, dispose of Sherry's dismembered body. After being offered full immunity from prosecution for his role as an accompliceprovided that he had not participated in the act of murder and would testify truthfully at Christensen's trialhe agreed to show the police where Christensen had discarded most of Sherry's body parts. Some of the body parts, it turned out, had been discarded in the woods of east Snohomish County like mere rubbish, while other body parts had been buried. Some of Sherry's body parts had been placed in plastic bags, and thrown into the brush and over embankments. Some of her body parts were never found.

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