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Originally published July 19, 2011 at 12:40 PM | Page modified July 20, 2011 at 3:38 PM

Authorities see no threat to public after 2 found dead in national forest

The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday's discovery of two bodies in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest does not represent a potential danger to the public.

Seattle Times staff reporters

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VERLOT, Snohomish County — The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday's discovery of two bodies in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest does not represent a potential danger to the public.

The bodies of a man and woman were found in an "informal campground" about seven miles east of the Verlot Service Center off the Mountain Loop Highway, said Rebecca Hover, spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office.

The Sheriff's Office has not termed the deaths a murder-suicide or a double suicide, and Hover said deputies are not looking for suspects.

Law-enforcement sources say that the two people appear to have been shot. Hover said autopsies would be performed by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office to determine the manner and cause of death.

"We do not believe foul play was involved," Hover told reporters.

She said formal identification of the "adult couple" had not been made as of Tuesday afternoon. It appears they were together and that they had a vehicle parked nearby, Hover said.

The bodies were discovered Tuesday morning by a couple of campers near the Red Bridge Campground, about 18 miles east of Granite Falls.

Renee Bodine, spokeswoman for the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, said the campers reported the discovery to the front-desk staff at the Verlot Service Center.

Hover said there is no connection between the bodies found Tuesday and the unsolved slayings of Mary Cooper, 56, and Susanna Stodden, 27, who were found in July 2006 on the Pinnacle Lake Trail in the Mount-Baker Snoqualmie National Forest. Both were shot in the head.

The two Seattle women had left Cooper's Green Lake home early on the morning of July 11, 2006. About 14 hours later, with no word from them, Cooper's husband, David Stodden, was about to launch his own search for his wife and daughter.

As he was about to leave his Seattle home, he said, Snohomish County deputies arrived and told him his wife and daughter had been slain.

Mary Cooper was the librarian at Seattle's Alternative Elementary School No. 2 at Decatur. Susanna Stodden was an aspiring teacher.

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com

Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.

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