Juneau man loses son to murder in Washington

Police investigators believe Whidbey Island killing was committed by someone Russel Douglas knew

Posted: Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Ten days after the murder of his son in western Washington, local Alaska Cooperative Extension Agent Jim Douglas returned to work Monday wondering what he can do for the family his son left behind.

Russel Douglas, 32, was found shot in his sport utility vehicle Dec. 27 in a remote area on the south part of Whidbey Island, according to news reports out of Coupeville and Seattle. He lived in Renton, Wash., and had a wife and two children, 9-year-old Jack and 6-year-old Hannah.

Russel was last seen on the morning of Dec. 26 by his wife, who told authorities he left to run errands. Jim Douglas said investigators believe Russel was shot that day.

"(Russel) was definitely murdered," Douglas said.

Douglas is closely following the investigation on Whidbey Island. He and his wife, Caroll, local co-coordinator for the federal Women and Infant Children program, attended a memorial service Friday in Washington state.

The Island County Sheriff's Office is investigating the case as a homicide. Douglas said judging from the way the body was discovered, investigators believe the killer was someone he knew.

"He didn't know it was coming," Douglas said.

Investigators recovered a shell casing, he added.

"They have fingerprints on the shell," he said.

Investigators are looking for anyone who might have more information on the crime.

Russel is Douglas's son from a previous marriage. Douglas said some Juneau people would have known him although he didn't grow up here. He attended high school in Coupeville, not far from where his body was found.

Russel spent Christmas with his wife and two children. Although they were legally separated, they remained close.

Douglas said he was hunting in the Seymour Canal area, southwest of Juneau, and it took a day for Caroll to reach him with the news.

Douglas said his son was optimistic about the future. After the weekend, he was going to begin a new position with Nextel, a cellular telephone company in Renton. He was to be responsible for land acquisition.

People wishing to help can remember his son through the Jack and Hannah Douglas Scholarship Fund, in care of Whidbey Island Bank, Langley Branch, P.O. Box 665, Langley, WA, 98260.

- Tony Carroll can be reached at


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