One year later, slain hikers remembered

One year later, slain hikers remembered »Play Video
Susanna Stodden and Mary Cooper
SEATTLE - Friends, family members and strangers gathered on Wednesday to remember two women who were murdered on a Snohomish County hiking trail one year ago.

Mary Cooper and her daughter Susanna Stodden were shot to death while hiking on the Pinnacle Lake Trail near Granite Falls last summer. The case remains unsolved.

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

With the killer still on the loose, Cooper's husband joined his two daughters and dozens others to walk around Seattle's Green Lake in honor of the two killed women. For the family members and those who knew the two women, the process is a part of the healing.

"I think this is very fitting, for reflecting their lives," said David Stodden, the women's husband and father. "They really were two people who really did work everyday to make the world better, they really did it so selflessly, it was really pretty incredible.

Hundreds of tips have come in since the murders, but so far none have panned out. At one point, even David Stodden himself was asked to take a polygraph. He agreed, and the results were ruled inconclusive.

"Polygraphs are a useful tool, and detectives need any tool they can get to solve them," Stodden said. "(But) to sort of have that aggression directed at me and my family, it felt really bad, actually."

One year after the murders, Stodden says he's trying to move forward with his life with his two surviving daughters, Elisa and Joanna.

"What we're looking for today with everybody coming together again is, it really feels like the community is healing," he said.

Cooper worked as a librarian at Seattle's Decatur Elementary School. Decatur students say Cooper was a nurturing and compassionate teacher, who read to every student in school.

"At the beginning of the year, I was only able to read books like this and now I'm able to read books like Harry Potter. That's how much she helped me learn how to read," said Shanti, a 5th grader.

Back in May, the school named its library the Mary Cooper Library in her honor.

There's a $26,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in the deaths. Tips can be called into 1-800-CRIME13.