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King County Sheriff

Leadership, Integrity, Service, Teamwork

   King County Sheriff

Emergency: Call 9-1-1

Call (206) 296-3311 24-hours to report a neighborhood problem or a crime that is not an emergency.

King County Courthouse
516 Third Ave
Room W-150
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 296-4155
TTY Relay: 7-1-1












AFIS Success Stories

King County Regional AFIS made its first hit in April 1988 on an Auburn rape case. The suspect was convicted in Superior Court. Since then, numerous crimes have been solved through the use of AFIS. . . IMG_9047

New Palmprint AFIS Identifies Rapist
Examiners responded to a rape callout of a 12-year old girl in her Shoreline home. At the scene, an examiner lifted a palmprint from a glass-topped dresser in the girl’s bedroom. With the new AFIS, palmprints can now be electronically searched and matched. The examiner used this new technology to identify a suspect and notified the detective. The King County Sheriff’s Office and Shoreline Police Department quickly arrested the suspect within a few days of the crime. He was charged with First Degree Rape and First Degree Burglary with Sexual Motivation.

Arrest in 30-Year Old Cold Case Homicide
In 1978, an 80 year-old widow was found dead in her Seattle trailer, which was ransacked. The case was never solved. In 2010, Sheriff’s Office cold case detectives re-examined the case. Advances in technology now allow prints to be searched through AFIS that previously had not met the criteria for quality. AFIS examiners matched latent fingerprints on items from the crime scene to an individual who lived near the victim at the time of the crime. In September 2011, detectives arrested the individual in Reno, where he resided. 

Graffiti Vandal Identified
A Covington man was identified as the suspect in at least 55 cases of graffiti vandalism using spray paint. Some items vandalized were dumpsters, fences, retaining walls, guard rails, and street signs. The break in the case came when a man walking his dog yelled at the suspect who was spray painting a fence. The suspect ran off, but dropped his spray paint can. Examiners processed the can and identified prints. The suspect was charged with Malicious Mischief.

Suspects Arrested after Brutal Assault
In December, a 55-year old Shoreline man heard someone trying to steal his vehicle so he went to investigate wearing slippers and a custom-made, green bathrobe. Shortly after, a neighbor saw the man crawling, bloody and naked. The man was unable to tell deputies what happened due to his extensive injuries. Fingerprints were found on the victim’s vehicle and a Latent Print Examiner individualized the prints to two suspects, who were both apprehended. Detectives later learned that one of the suspects gave his mother the victim’s bathrobe for a Christmas present. IMG_9526_touched_up

Sex Offender Convicted
As part of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a Tenprint Examiner assisted the case agent with linking an offender’s identity to a California rapsheet. Review of the criminal history and fingerprint records revealed an extensive criminal arrest and conviction record dating back to the 1970’s. The Tenprint Examiner’s assistance on the case contributed to the sentencing decision for this Washington State sex offender, who received 14 years in federal prison and a lifetime of supervised release for Possession of Child Pornography.

River Rat Bandit Apprehended
The River Rat Bandit earned his nickname from the series of robberies that occurred on both sides of the Columbia River. He was believed to be responsible for at least 18 armed robberies from late July until early October 2009, between Portland, Oregon and Kent, Washington. Two of the robberies and one attempted robbery occurred in Puyallup. The suspect is believed to have netted close to $100,000 in cash during these robberies.

The AFIS Program received a robbery case from the Kent Police Department, which included a print that had been collected by a Kent Police Officer. When the examiner ran the print against the AFIS database, it hit upon an excellent set of fingerprints taken in 2007 by an AFIS Program Identification Technician. The Latent Print Examiner made the identification, had a colleague verify it and then notified the Kent Police Department. This hit led to a multi-agency investigation that resulted in the apprehension of the River Rat Bandit.

Murder-for-Hire Plot SolvedIMG_0827-1
This case started with a callout for a carjacking/homicide. Latent Print Examiners processed the vehicle and a gun box that was later determined to be the box of the murder weapon. They recovered the only print identified to the suspect from the support bar in the trunk. An examiner identified prints of both the mother and the son on the gun box and the prints of the son and the alleged shooter on the inside of the trunk.

The mother pleaded guilty after the gun was found and a witness had come forward. The son was found guilty and sentenced to 25 years. In the son’s trial, the actual vehicle was brought into the courtroom and the examiner crawled into the trunk to show just how far in the trunk the alleged shooter’s print was discovered. The alleged shooter pleaded guilty as charged to Murder in the First Degree with a firearm and was sentenced to 25 years.

AFIS Helps Stop a Chain of Nationwide Thefts
Examiners collected fingerprints from a crime scene where a stolen gasoline truck had been recovered. This was only one in a series of thefts, in which tanker trucks were stolen for the sale of gasoline. A fingerprint match was made to a previously unknown suspect. Detectives put the suspect under surveillance and arrested him a short time later while the suspect was driving another stolen truck.

Murder Victim Identified
In south King County, a homicide victim’s body was found on a Thursday. No leads could be found until the victim was identified. The next day the Medical Examiner’s Office sent the victim’s fingerprints to AFIS. AFIS had a hit within 15 minutes, and in only a few hours, detectives had viable suspects, two of whom were booked that very weekend.

Identity Theft
A King County man had his ID stolen, and later the thief used his name when he was arrested and booked into jail in California. Months later the innocent victim was pulled over for a routine traffic stop and arrested because a warrant had been issued under his name for the thief’s crime. AFIS did a check of the victim’s fingerprints with the booking record in California and determined they were not the same person. The victim was immediately released.

Suspect Identified by Tattoos
Identification Technicians work in county correctional facilities and use Livescan devices to electronically record and transmit fingerprint images to the AFIS database for identification by examiners.  Technicians also capture booking photos of inmates at the same time.   

In November 2012, an officer with Fife Police Department sent an AFIS technician several tattoo descriptions of a suspect in the hopes of making an identification.  Within 10 minutes of receiving the information the technician was able to identify the suspect by using the tattoo descriptions and comparing them to booking photos.  The officer was able to confirm his suspect, and was very appreciative of the quick assistance provided on his request.