Bodies found on boat after text message confession

Bodies found on boat after text message confession
Police bring back the "Moon Angel" into Friday Harbor's port Aug. 12 after discovering two people dead on board.
FRIDAY HARBOR, Wash. - Federal and local officers chasing down a man who had reportedly killed his girlfriend traced him to a boat Wednesday afternoon off Orcas Island, where he apparently shot himself as cops closed in.

Officers who boarded the man's 36-foot powerboat Moon Angel also found the body of a woman who had been dead for some time, said San Juan County Sheriff Bill Cumming.

The saga began earlier Wednesday when friends of 39-year-old Albert Beutler received a text message from him saying that he had killed his girlfriend and he was planning on killing himself.

The friends notified Bellevue police, who were able to approximate his position - at Friday Harbor on San Juan Island - by "pinging" his cell phone.

Vessels from the Coast Guard spotted the Beutler's vessel as it left Friday Harbor, and followed it into Presidents Channel, off the west side of Orcas Island.

The Coast Guard was joined by an additional patrol vessel from the Customs and Homeland Security Protection Agency.

As federal officers approached the man's powerboat in their vessels, Beutler went below despite being ordered to stay on deck.

Shortly afterward, Coast Guard personnel heard a gunshot from inside the man's boat. Officers boarded the powerboat and found Beutler still alive, but very seriously wounded.

A Coast Guard medic attempted to keep him alive with CPR, but the effort was unsuccessful. Beutler was pronounced dead at the scene.

A patrol vessel from the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office arrived on scene and took charge of the investigation. Deputies then found the woman dead in the forward section of the powerboat.

The powerboat was taken to Friday Harbor, where a search warrant was executed and the vessel was searched for evidence and for removal of the two bodies.

Cumming said it appeared that the woman had died sometime much earlier to the discovery of her body.