killers

Who Murdered Mia Zapata?

The Seattle Times
August 23, 1998
By Alex Tizon

Every moment of Mia Zapata’s last full day was accounted for, except 80 minutes. In that period, she traveled, or was moved, 1.6 miles. Somewhere in that block of time and space, her life was taken, her body left lying in the street face up, positioned, witnesses said, in the form of a crucified Christ. Five years after her murder, the killer remains as elusive as a phantom.

She would have turned 33 this Tuesday.

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The Story Of A Drive-By Murder

The Seattle Times
March 8, 1998
By Alex Tizon

WALLA WALLA, Washington – The boy who killed Melissa Fernandes has grown into a man. A small young man with a bald head. Brian Ronquillo is 20 years old, no longer the blank-faced adolescent without a clue. He knows stuff now. At the very least, he knows that lives can be undone in a single moment. The knowledge shows on his face, the look of someone sober after a long drunk spell. The eyes suggest a kind of regret. The mouth forms a straight, penitent line. Right now, though, he’s drawing attention to his shaved skull.

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Killing At School: The Small Town of Moses Lake Recovers From One Student’s Rampage

The Seattle Times
February 23, 1997
By Alex Tizon

MOSES LAKE, Washington – Barry Loukaitis entered his fifth-period algebra class with three guns, his principal weapon a .30-30 lever-action rifle, commonly used to hunt deer. A cartridge is the size of an average man’s pinky, shaped like a tiny missile, capped by a copper-jacketed lead bullet. When fired, the bullet leaves the muzzle at a speed of 2,200 feet per second, its impact equivalent to the force necessary to move a 1,800-pound object one foot. Often a struck deer dies not from physiological damage but from shock – a sudden arresting of vital functions.

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Death Of A Dreamer

The Seattle Times
April 21, 1996
By Alex Tizon

CATAINGAN, Philippines – At the end of a long muddy trail, it just appears, a city of tombstones in the middle of a mango grove. There’s no sign marking the cemetery. It isn’t necessary; everyone here knows where it is.

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Unopened Gifts Reveal Family’s Loss

The Seattle Times
January 15, 1995
By Alex Tizon

It is the middle of January, and Theresa Arucan’s presents sit unopened under a shedding Christmas tree. Her family asks: Should we keep them in her honor? Should we open them on the day they catch her killer? They are random, fleeting questions asked by a family still too stunned to know what else to do.

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The Killing Fields of the Mind

The Seattle Times
January 23, 1994
By Alex Tizon

Patient A has a stomach ache. It never goes away. It keeps her awake at night and tired during the day. She can’t work or play or enjoy sex. For three years she goes from doctor to doctor, subjecting herself to tests. The tests find nothing. She insists on the pain. The doctors are baffled.

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