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Originally published December 13, 2011 at 10:41 AM | Page modified December 13, 2011 at 8:23 PM

Soldier is person of interest in slaying of Kirkland woman

A soldier from Joint Base Lewis-McChord is a person of interest in the Nov. 30 slaying of a 19-year-old woman in Kirkland, according to a base spokesman.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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A soldier from Joint Base Lewis-McChord is a person of interest in the Nov. 30 slaying of a 19-year-old woman in Kirkland, according to a base spokesman.

Joe Piek, spokesman for Joint Base Lewis-McChord, said on Tuesday that the soldier was booked into the base corrections facility on Nov. 30 for going absent without leave (AWOL). Army officials were notified by Kirkland police the same day that he was also a person of interest in the slaying of Scarlett Paxton.

"The base leadership has been informed that this particular soldier is a person of interest in the ongoing murder investigation," Piek said.

The 19-year-old soldier, who has not been identified by authorities, was questioned by Kirkland police the same day as the slaying in connection with another unrelated 911 call, said Kirkland police Lt. Mike Murray.

There is no evidence that Paxton and the soldier knew each other, Murray said.

"As far as we know we have not been able to make any connection to him and the victim, but we're still looking," Murray said.

Piek said the soldier had gone AWOL several times in recent months and once missed a mandatory unit movement. Piek said he "is considered a flight risk."

"This particular soldier has only been in the Army a little over a year. He has never been overseas," Piek said.

Authorities said knowing the man was behind bars on the base gave police additional time to conduct their investigation before seeking criminal charges in King County Superior Court.

Piek declined to say when the soldier was off base on other occasions or whether he is under investigation for other crimes.

Around 1 a.m. Nov. 30, Paxton and her boyfriend went for a walk near their Juanita apartment. At some point, they split up and Paxton apparently went home.

When the boyfriend returned home, he found Paxton bleeding outside the apartment. She died shortly after medics arrived.

The King County Medical Examiner's Office said Paxton died from "sharp forced injury to her neck."

A trail of blood led from her apartment to a unit across the hall. The trail continued down the stairs to the doors of two other units. Police also found a long-handled knife in the common area of the apartment complex.

Information from Seattle Times archives included in this report.

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

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