Time brings no answers, no relief

Time brings no answers, no relief »Play Video
Susanna Stodden and Mary Cooper
SEATTLE -- Two years ago on Friday, someone got away with murder along a hiking trail in Snohomish County.

A woman and her daughter ran into trouble while hiking on a trail near Pinnacle Lake in Granite Falls. The killer shot Mary Cooper, 56, and Susanna Stodden, 27, then disappeared without a trace.

Hikers later found the women's bodies, but their case has remained a mystery.

On the two-year anniversary of their murder, the women's friends and family members gathered at Seattle's Green Lake Park to pay tribute to the victims.

Together, those gathered walked around the lake, mourning the women's deaths. Their sudden and gruesome deaths have left many questions unanswered for both their family members and investigators alike.

At one point, suspicion turned on David Stodden, the husband and father of the victims, and he has yet to be cleared.

David agreed to take the polygraph on two different occasions, even though many warned him a false positive might make him a suspect.

"Apparently, I didn't do so good on it either time," he said.

But David says that's just the way it goes.

"I talked to a retired detective right after this happened, and he said that I'd be a suspect until there was a conviction," he said.

Despite this lingering shadow of doubt, what bothers David the most is his overwhelming grief.

"I haven't dealt with most of it yet, a lot of it," he said.

David still tends the garden his wife of 28 years planted.

The widower says he would do anything to help solve the case. In hopes of finding a clue - or perhaps some solace - David has, on numerous occasions, revisited the spot where the bodies were found.

"I've been up there 15, 20 times, putting up Crimestoppers posters and talking to people in Granite Falls," he said.

Following the murders, detectives cast a wide net and featured the victims in a cold-case deck of playing cards, which aim to stir the memories of the players. The decks have been distributed at state prisons.

With answers yet to be found, speculations have filled the void. Some family friends and newspaper reports have speculated the women may have stumbled upon a drug operation.

Others suspect the crime was a form of initiation which involved the killer targeting the first person seen on the trail on that fateful day.

Since the murders, people have found ways to honor the women. At Decatur Elementary School in Seattle, a school library has been named for Cooper, who is remembered as a nurturing and compassionate librarian. In South Seattle, a park bench sits in memory of Susanna.

David says the shock is long gone, and what's left is the harsh reality of his loss.

"I don't think there's any closure," he said.

Investigators identified persons of interest, but later said they didn't have enough evidence to connect them to the crime. In the months since, they haven't been able to come up with a suspect.

Detectives declined interview requests, but said their "thoughts and prayers" are with the family. They also emphasized that this is an active case that weighs heavily on detectives.

Crimestoppers are offering a $26,000 reward for information that leads to the women's killer.