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Originally published January 29, 2013 at 5:57 PM | Page modified January 29, 2013 at 5:57 PM

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Daughter wonders if money was motive in father’s slaying

Arthur Schroeder, who was found fatally stabbed in his ransacked trailer in Marysville, “had a way of flaunting that he had money.”

Seattle Times staff reporter

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What money? He spent almost 20 years in prison and was living in a trailer park. Did... MORE
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Bobby Schroeder thought she was the only one who knew that her 82-year-old father had stashed cash all over his trailer at the Brookside Mobile RV Park in Marysville, but now she wonders if he bragged about it to the wrong person.

“He had a tendency to hang out with seedy people,” she said of her father, Arthur Schroeder, who was found fatally stabbed in his ransacked trailer early Friday.

“It could be just about anybody he’s been in contact with,” Bobby Schroeder said of her father’s unknown killer. “He had a way of flaunting that he had money.”

She thinks her father’s “personality and his past” may also have had something to do with his homicide. In 1985, Arthur Schroeder, then 53, was sent to prison for almost 20 years for having sex with underage girls and supplying them with booze and pot.

Though he had “an awesome sense of humor” and was fun to be around, Arthur Schroeder never seemed to keep friends very long, said his daughter, whose own relationship with him was strained.

“But I still love him,” she said.

Marysville police aren’t ready to definitively point to any one motive, though robbery and Schroeder’s status as a sex offender are possibilities detectives are looking into, said Cmdr. Robb Lamoureux. At this point in the investigation, police are not releasing information about when they think Schroeder was killed, he said.

Around 10:45 p.m. Friday, Schroeder’s champagne-colored pickup — which had been stolen from the RV park — was found engulfed in flames in a rural area north of Arlington, according to Lamoureux. Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies ran the vehicle’s license plate and determined it was the stolen pickup Marysville cops were looking for, he said.

“We impounded it, and we’re continuing to process it for trace evidence, and we feel like we’ll be able to pull evidence out of it,” Lamoureux said.

Hours earlier, Bobby Schroeder’s 31-year-old son, Rory, had been visiting friends who live at the same RV park as his grandfather. When he saw the kitchen light on in his grandfather’s trailer around 1:30 a.m., Rory decided to stop in to see him, Bobby Schroeder said.

When his knocks went unanswered, he tried the door and found it unlocked. His grandfather’s body was on the living-room floor, just inside the door, she said.

“He went inside just long enough to see if his grandfather had a pulse,” Bobby Schroeder said.

Rory backed out of the trailer and returned home, where he woke his mother; the two returned to the RV park.

The trailer was dimly lit, but Bobby Schroeder could see blood on her father’s head and face. But the state of the trailer was “how I knew it was a crime scene,” she said. She and her son went outside and called 911.

“I’m pretty numb. I don’t have feelings one way or the other,” she said.

Her son, who in recent years attempted to build a relationship with his grandfather, is having a harder time dealing with Schroeder’s death.

“He has some good memories of them out fishing,” she said of her son, who had last seen Schroeder a week or two before he was killed.

She said her father, who tended bar, worked as a crab fisherman in Alaska and later, for a trucking company. He had inherited money from his parents and also did well in the stock market, she said.

Bobby Schroeder said her parents split up when she was still a baby. As an adult, she put a lot of effort into having a relationship with her father before and after he went to prison. She visited him monthly while he was incarcerated, then helped him acclimate after his release, teaching him how to use a computer and the remote control for his TV.

Gradually, though, they just stopped talking.

“Every life that Dad touched, there was some negativity,” she said. But “everybody has a good side ... People did gravitate to him.”

Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or sgreen@seattletimes.com

Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report.

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