A man renting a room from a Washington State couple who mysteriously vanished earlier this week has been charged as a suspect in their killings.
Authorities have not yet publicly named the suspect, but announced on Friday evening that an arrest had been made in relation to the disappearance of Davido William Cannizzo, 68, and Karen Koep, 62, after conducting an investigation with local, state, and federal authorities.
“Based on the evidence gathered, detectives located and arrested an Olympian man in his 40s known to the couple,” the news release on Facebook read, adding that law enforcement had reason to believe that the couple did not survive an attack at their home. “The man will be booked into the Thurston County jail on two counts of Murder 1st degree and Kidnapping 1st degree.”
Earlier in the day, Koep’s sister, Pauline Dutton, told The Daily Beast that a man named Timothy Burke, who was living in a boarding house she owned with Cannizzo, had been detained by police after the pair went missing but was released within 24 hours. Today, Thurston County jail records today show a Timothy Burke locked up on first-degree murder first-degree kidnapping charges. He is being held without bail.
In a statement to The Daily Beast on Saturday, Lt. Mike Brooks said the couple had known the suspect for “several years.”
Brooks declined to provide any further information.
Burke had been doing construction and repair work for Cannizzo in exchange for rent, according to Dutton, who said Koep and Cannizzo lived at another address nearby. Cops initially hauled him in on identity theft charges after finding him in possession of an unidentified piece of property belonging to Koep and Cannizzo, she said.
Dutton described the home where Burke was staying as a “home with multiple people living in rooms there,” and said Burke moved in after being forced to leave his last place—a shed on a property in Olympia—after a fire in July.
“Hi I’m a mechanical engineer, quit my job about 7 years ago to do my own business,” read a GoFundMe page he launched in the aftermath. “I have 3 kids who live elsewhere, my Business has not paid the bills. Can’t get any job now, have tried everything.”
Burke claimed an arsonist burned down the shed, incinerating “all my clothes, fridge, family items, computer, books, momentous [sic], kitchen stuff etc.” He blamed the blaze on a “drunk, mentally ill” man who “believed in the weirdest stuff.”
“I had not even been rude to him,” Burke wrote. “He lived in an rv on the property… Please help.Im super stressed, the person/people involved, if there were instigators/planners have not been arrested. I can’t sleep much.”
The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office said it had been in touch with the couple’s family and that the investigation is ongoing.
In a previous report by The Daily Beast, the couple, who were both in their 60s, were reported missing Nov. 13 when Koep failed to show up for work as a chiropractor.
“Deputies responded to the residence located in Lake Forest Development and found that the husband and wife were missing and the circumstance surrounding their disappearance is suspicious,” a Nov. 14 Thurston County Sheriff’s Office press release stated. “The couple’s vehicle was missing from the residence and later located by law enforcement.”
Dutton on Friday told The Daily Beast that she feared Koep and Cannizzo’s disappearance may have had something to do with Davido’s past experience in the criminal justice system.
Cannizzo spent six years behind bars beginning in 1993, on cocaine distribution charges, which gave him a great deal of empathy for others facing difficult periods in their lives, according to Dutton.
“My brother-in-law was giving a lot of people second chances in life,” she said. “That may now wind up being to their detriment.”