The Week in Review
MONDAY, OCTOBER 18 This week of dramatic plunges, convicted killers, and "don't ask, dont tell"–related whiplash kicks off in Southern California, where today Costa Mesa police responded to a call about an illegally parked vehicle and were met by an awful smell, which was determined to be emanating from the illegally parked car's passenger seat, in which police found a mummified corpse. As the Associated Press reports, authorities initially believed it could take weeks to identify the body—but that was before the Orange County coroner rehydrated the desiccated body's fingertips, obtaining a fingerprint, which on Friday will reveal the corpse to be Signe Margit, a 59-year-old woman who was believed to have been homeless. Key details come from the car's owner, a 57-year-old former real-estate agent who told police she'd befriended the homeless Margit in a park and allowed her to sleep in the car. Afraid to alert police when she found Margit dead in the passenger seat, the car's owner instead allegedly covered the body with a blanket, placed a box of baking soda in the car to absorb the stench, and continued to drive the car for 10 months with the corpse inside. As for potential charges against the alleged corpse-hauler: "We would obviously be looking at what laws deal with the transportation of bodies," said Sergeant Paul Beckman. "Ultimately, this is still an undetermined death. There's still a vast amount of investigation necessary."
••Speaking of car-related horror: Tonight brought a ridiculously dramatic accident to Burien, where a Subaru traveling the wrong way down State Route 509 crashed head-on into a Ford Explorer, after which the 31-year-old driver of the wrong-way Subaru attempted to flee on foot, after which he was fatally struck by four cars and an ambulance. KIRO reports that three women in the Ford Explorer were rushed to Harborview Medical Center (one with critical injuries, two with serious injuries) while the hit-and-run-and-smooshed driver was pronounced dead at the scene.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 19 The week continues in Rainier Valley, where a whole bunch of drama has unfolded around a would-be foot-massage parlor. As Seattlepi.com reports, the saga began with a series of undercover police operations at Rainier Foot Massage, an alleged foot-rub emporium on Rainier Avenue South, where, according to charging documents, vice detectives were repeatedly offered pay-to-play sexual services by female employees. Detectives also noted the used condoms in the bathroom trash can and, armed with a search warrant, police raided the business on October 11. "During the day of the raid, members of the vice unit continued to operate Rainier Foot Massage," reports Seattlepi.com's Levi Pulkkinen. "Police arrested six men now accused of offering an undercover officer posing as a masseuse money for sex." Also arrested: Rainier Foot Massage's owner, 45-year-old Liu Wei, who's been charged with promoting prostitution and remains jailed on $25,000 bail.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20 Nothing happened today, unless you count the arrival of Barack Obama in Seattle, where the president will spend the next 24 hours working his socialist Kenyan magic for Senator Patty Murray and weathering less-than-ferocious protests over his less-than-ferocious advocacy for gay rights and various other perceived betrayals. Mitigating factor (for Last Days, at least): the three-minute video submitted by Obama to the It Gets Better Project, in which our deeply imperfect elected leader distinguishes himself as the first president to fight for the well-being of the nation's LGBT kids. Sure, they were only words, but those were some important words. As It Gets Better Project creator Dan Savage told CNN, "We're extremely grateful, and we're looking forward to the president matching these words with actions on behalf of his administration to actually make it better for LGBT adults and children."
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 21 In much worse news, the week continues in Ballard, where this evening a multiple-vehicle crash inspired a thrilling burst of heroism before claiming a heartbreaking casualty. The hero: Frank Rizzo, aka Kenny Johnson, owner of Rizzo's French Dip, who raced into the flaming wreckage (created by a speeding driver who struck at least two other cars, causing a chain-reaction crash) to rescue a 3-year-old girl trapped in a burning car. "At first, I got scared," said Rizzo to KOMO News. "I'm thinking the cars are going to catch on fire, and it's going to blow up and I'm going to blow up in it. But I just said, 'I'm not going to leave that little girl in there. It ain't happening.'" The rescued 3-year-old and two critically injured adults were taken to Harborview Medical Center, where the little girl was treated for injuries including a broken arm and one of the adults—Andy Kotowicz, father of the girl and a beloved longtime Sub Pop employee—succumbed to fatal injuries. "Our friend has died," wrote Sub Pop's Chris Jacobs of Kotowicz in his beautiful official statement. "In what qualifies as nothing short of miraculous and definitively heroic, his daughter was pulled from the remains of the car, while it was on fire, by a local business owner who witnessed the accident. Though this same person tried and was unable to rescue Andy, I can think of no greater favor to our friend than saving his daughter's life. And, in some small measure of thanks, we will all be eating as many Rizzo's French Dip sandwiches as we can hold for a very long time. 'Thank you' seems ridiculously inadequate, but thank you. Thank you." Rest in peace, Andy Kotowicz, who is survived by his wife, Jocelyn Boyea; his daughter, Anna; his sister, Madeline; and his parents, Bill and Michele Kotowicz. Andy Kotowicz will be commemorated with a memorial service at Seattle's Town Hall on Monday, November 1, starting at 1:00 p.m.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22 The week continues in Skagit County Superior Court, where today brought a dramatic end to the dog-trainer- to-the-stars murder trial. The defendant: 42-year-old Michiel Oakes, who freely admitted to killing dog trainer T. Mark Stover (who famously trained the pooches of everyone from Eddie Vedder to Ichiro) but insisted the slaying was in self-defense. The problem(s): the camouflage clothing, bulletproof vest, ropes, weights, and loaded handgun Oakes outfitted himself with before confronting Stover at his home, all of which seemed to belie Oakes's claims of impromptu manslaughter in self-defense and led the jury to convict Oakes of first-degree premeditated murder, for which he faces up to 26 years in prison.
••Meanwhile in Seattle, today brought the laboriously named "October 22 National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation" rally to Capitol Hill, where a diverse group of citizens decried police officer Ian Birk's officially unjustified killing of John T. Williams before a handful of schmucks from the Revolutionary Communist Party hogged the mic and dragged the rally to Crazytown.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 23 Nothing happened today, unless you count the hallucinatory tragedy in France, where nearly a dozen members of a family in the Paris suburb of La Verriere mistook a relative for the devil and leaped in terror from the second-floor balcony of their apartment. "A four-month-old baby died in his mother's arms, while a two-year-old was critically injured," reports the Belfast Telegraph. "Eight more were injured, some seriously, when they jumped 20 feet into a car park. Police said they had found no evidence of hallucinogenic drugs or unusual religious rituals."
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 24 Speaking of crazy people jumping off things, the week ends in Skyway, where this afternoon a man stabbed his girlfriend and his mother, then jumped off a third-floor balcony. "All three people were taken to Harborview Medical Center where they were listed in serious but stable condition," reports KING 5.
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This article has been updated since its original publication.