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Why did Ingrid Lyne’s killer choose the Central District?

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Friends and family of Lyne have come together to mourn her passing and raise money for her three daughters, ages 12, 10, and 7. A GoFundme campaign has raised more than $240,000 for the girls.

Friends and family of Lyne have come together to mourn her passing and raise money for her three daughters, ages 12, 10, and 7. A GoFundme campaign has raised more than $240,000 for the girls.

In the two weeks since remains of Ingrid Lyne were discovered in a recycling bin at 21st and Pine, police have arrested a suspect and offered a gruesome outline of what they believed happened to the Renton mother of three.

Still, details on how the 40-year-old’s killer ended up on this residential block remain unclear.

John Charlton, 37, is suspected of killing the Swedish Medical Center nurse in her home, stealing her car, dumping her body in Central District recycling bins, and eventually making his way to Snohomish County where he was arrested.

The 1600 block of 21st Ave appears to have only been a random stop on Charlton’s way to Lake Stevens where he was eventually arrested. Police say the neighborhood bears no other connection to the case.

The handful of available details on Charlton’s whereabouts that weekend offer some insight into a possible timeline of events, but no definitive answers as to why he chose the Central District.

The timeline starts with a date at the Mariners home opener Friday evening, April 8th. Charlton told police he and Lyne attended the game at Safeco Field. Police confirmed Lyne had tickets to the game.

After the game, Charlton said the two went to Lyne’s house in Renton but that he was too drunk to remember what happened next. Nobody was home by 10 AM Saturday morning when Lyne’s ex-husband arrived at the house to drop off their three children.

It was sometime prior to her ex-husband’s arrival that prosecutors say Charlton killed and dismembered Lyne at her Renton home and then drove her car to Seattle. Officials have not said if Charlton used the 2015 Toyota Highlander to transport Lyne’s remains to the Central District, but it appears to be a likely scenario given the prosecutor’s timeline. The car was eventually found in Belltown. The awful evidence of what had happened in the home was discovered when CSI detectives removed plumbing beneath the tub following Charlton’s arrest.

Lyne’s remains in the Central District were discovered just after 4 PM on Saturday, April 9th. Her body parts, wrapped in garbage bags, were placed in home recycling bins in at least two locations: 21st and Pine, and two blocks south near 20th and Marion. Police have not released any further details about when the disposal may have occurred, how long Charlton may have stayed in the neighborhood, if he did anything else aside from dump the body parts, or if detectives are still searching for additional remains. More remains belonging to Lyne were discovered at a SODO recycling center this week.

How well did Charlton know Seattle? He had a drinking problem, claimed to be homeless, and told a girlfriend he stayed in a “shelter” in the city but she was unable to provide specifics to police. The suspect told police he works as a day laborer. According to police, Charlton also said the night of the Mariners game, he and Lyne visited a bar in Seattle where his sister works before returning to Lyne’s Renton home.

21st Ave (Images: CHS)

21st Ave (Images: CHS)

There are several possible routes Charlton could have taken from Renton to the Central District. Rainier offers a nearly straight shot from Renton to the location where Lyne’s remains were found and avoids interstate travel. Taking I-5 and exiting at Madison is a relatively natural route to the neighborhood, but requires driving south of Renton to connect to the interstate. Traveling via I-90 would have likely been the fastest way to get from Lyne’s home to Seattle, but would require a more circuitous route to 21st and Pine after crossing Lake Washington.

Assuming Charlton’s destination from Renton was to park the car in Belltown, he may have wanted to avoid downtown’s dense and active streets as a place to dispose Lyne’s body. The Central District’s quiet residential blocks would certainly offer more privacy before stashing the car. Still, there are many neighborhoods between Renton and downtown Seattle and the details of why Lyne’s dismembered body ended up in the Central District may never become fully known.

SPD’s investigation remains ongoing and a spokesperson said detectives are still trying to piece together a timeline for Lyne’s death. A King County judge found there was probable cause to hold Charlton and set his bail at $2 million. Charlton’s attorney said there is no evidence linking Charlton to Lyne’s death.

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19 thoughts on “Why did Ingrid Lyne’s killer choose the Central District?

    • To attempt to answer the question raised in the headline, a question that I and likely may other readers have wondered, given that it seems random and illogical.

      If anything the contents of the post serve to distance the crime from the CD by failing to turn up any blatant connections between the killer and the neighborhood.

    • It’s a fair question that we thought a lot about before publishing — except for the “speculative” part and the “trying to link” part. It’s actually the opposite of speculative — we focus strictly on the evidence released and facts gathered. I don’t think the “link” issue requires more comment. So, the base question: Why run it? For one, the question in the headline is what I have been asked more than anything else by people who live in the area. So, it’s what I now ask myself every time I read about the case or visit the neighborhood. Does the post answer the question? No. But we definitely explore it. And we know the investigation is interested in learning more about the question, too. It’s possible there is more information out there that will be brought forward. Will it be because of this post? I don’t know.

  1. I think he took Rainier Avenue from Renton and then veered onto 23rd which tells me he knew the area well. He probably hadn’t factored in the Major Road Construction on 23rd and simply turned left onto Pine before the road ended. I know there has been Traffic Police at the road closure barricade’s but don’t know if one was there at that time of the morning. I think he just freaked out as soon as he saw the road closure. I do think it’s interesting though that the Attempted Abduction in February was on Capitol Hill as well. As Far as I know, no one was caught. I hope this incident has been investigated and maybe a possible link to Charlton.

    • I’m glad to know there’s a valid reason for this article. I’m more disturbed about why this violent murder in the first place? What the heck? Is this his first crime? Is he mentally disturbed? Sorry, I may have missed some info that’s already out. Are they 100% sure they have the right person?

  2. Uggh, I just caught up with all the articles I missed since this started. This is just so awful. This article makes more sense now. I’m sure so many people are involved due to her remains being left in CD.

  3. I’m interested in what his sister has to say, especially in regards to how drunk he was, and how much he drank at her work place. Did she ply him with more liquor? In addition, what was going on between him and Ingrid; fighting?, annoyed?, etc. Was she trying to get away from him? Also, what does the other employees and patrons have to say regarding that evening at the bar and also at the game. He’s obviously had issues for a long time, alcohol, drugs, and anger. When you start threatening your own mother and your parents take a restraining order out on you; time to be checked into a facility; mental, rehab or prison. Guess he’ll be going back to prison (already arrested,and prison time in multiple states), but this time for a long stint; life, I hope.

  4. The Lake Stevens neighbors had a few things to say about this guy.
    I hope the one about his truck “always having garbage bags in the back of it” isn’t one of those blatant connections to the attempted kidnapping in Seattle’s Capitol Hill area Feb 2 @ 1600 Bellevue ave. This is actually the first I had heard he even had a truck or access to a truck and I certainly hope it doesn’t match up with the one at the bottom of this video. It needs to be checked out. So, yeah, I can totally understand this article. Nothing wrong in coming together as a community.

  5. The block he ditched the SUV is only few blocks from mine, so its close home. And scary to know he was driving around with body parts in it.

    It does not make sense a Mom would sleep around with a homeless guy that was also drunk and on drugs possibly. Then, she is NOT a Mom.

    And it may have been car that she was driving and later he may have used her SUV.

    • Wow, so you are victim blaming? In this case? You have no idea what she knew about the guy, especially given they met online. For everything I have read about her, she seems to most definitely be a Mom. Shame on you.

    • Hmm, it is not blaming the victim at all. We need to be cautious regarding whom we start a relationship with and whom to take to your home. And this is specially true when kids are involved. The technology has brought the world too close to us and it is advantageous but on the other hand, danger is also hovering closer. Meeting people online, is not bad by itself, but meeting a good person is. I am not judging her judgements, but we need to think twice before we make a step to meet a stranger. Rest in peace!

    • She had been dating him for 6 weeks or more, and clearly didn’t see alarm bells bringing him home to her place. His Facebook doesn’t make him look like some homeless, alcoholic felon on the outs with his family at all.

      If you don’t think anyone should ever date a stranger, who are folks supposed to date? Only people in their immediate circle? That seems unlikely. My parents met on a blind date. I met my husband in a bookstore. Plenty of people meet and date strangers.

    • Excuse me?? You say this statement was not victim blaming?
      “It does not make sense a Mom would sleep around with a homeless guy that was also drunk and on drugs possibly. Then, she is NOT a Mom.”
      That was so blatantly a victim blaming cruel and heartless thing to say.

  6. My friends who live within blocks of the incident have wondered why he picked their neighborhood. It’s a fair question, as that area is already the hub of too many unfortunate violent incidents.

  7. Normally, I don’t stop to consider things of this nature since it’s all relative to situations over which we truly have no control. These are always deeply heartwrenching. The closer you are, the worse and more devastating it is.
    I put on the breaks because of the array of commentary. Here is a young mom who has been murdered, mutilated, and whom’s body parts were reportedly discovered in both the Central District and in the Industrial District
    However, I’m sort to ticked by the audacity for encouraging people to focus on this factor as a major question or as a headline, rather on the continual impact this has had (and is having) on Ingrid’s family, especially on her children, on their dad, on the resident’s immediately affected, on the community at large, and on how someone is able to get away with doing something like that without being noticed, in the first place.
    Perhaps, more emphasis should also be placed on the case, itself, rather than on the “why” no brainer.
    We’re talking about a murderer (whomever did it) driving around looking for “any place” to be rid of the evidence as soon and as inconspicuously as possible. He’s desperate.
    I think the emphasis is in the wrong place.

  8. I pray that God will comfort the hearts and minds of her daughters, her mother, her ex-husband, her co-workers, her friends, and her neighbors. In Jesus’ Holy Name I pray, Amen.
    There is a God in Heaven and there is a devil and his imps on the earth. It is horrible what happened to this woman; she trusted someone that presented themselves as a good human being. (In the old days they had match makers who would help single people safely meet and date and marry suitable partners. There used to be chaperones who would look out for the woman when she was on a date. I think those old ways were very wise.)

  9. Yes that was a rude judgmental could you say that??people are deceiving and can portray to be anybody. She never knew he was homeless. He was also a good lier, charming and handsome. I can tell you THAT. She was a normal women..who got tricked and fooled by that crazy a%&@ son of a b…… Mother f……. Ba@$%@!!!!! May he rest in hell! He remembers everything! Ladies please be careful..DONt Trust no one!!!!?

    • I don’t understand why the prosecutors are only seeking 21-28 years behind bars for this dirtbag. Remember this at the polls people in November. Inslee and Satterburg gotta go! Sheesh, the couple that fed only hotdog smoothies to their 6 yr. old got 20 years in prison! And OUR prosecutors think this crime against Ingrid Lyne and her children only warrants a couple more? @$%#&^&%^!!