Submitted by San Juan County Prosecuting Attorney/Coroner
On Saturday Dec. 12, a beach walker found a woman who had washed ashore at Hunter Bay at the South end of Lopez Sound. She was fully clothed, with identification in a pocket, and later confirmed to be Davida T. Bent, age 70, of Anacortes, Washington.
San Juan County Sheriff detective Lukas Peter contacted Anacortes Police and asked them to search for a car registered to Bent at the Washington State Ferry Terminal, and nearby parks and overlooks. A few days later the car, a white Volkswagen Beetle, was found parked at the Guemes Ferry landing in Anacortes.
Video surveillance at the ferry landing area, showed the Volkswagen arrived about 9:30 pm on Tuesday December 8, and shortly thereafter, a person matching Bent’s clothing is seen walking down the Guemes ferry ramp. “She walked along the ferry ramp, alone, and does not return, and it is evident that she entered the Salish Sea at this point,” said Coroner Randall Gaylord. His observations are confirmed by Sheriff Ron Krebs, who added, “The video is dark and grainy and the lights are bright and obscure the movements when she disappears from view.”
Mr. Gaylord added that the Coroner’s office had requested cell phone records and banking records, which confirmed her last movements on December 8.
Mr. Gaylord said it was unusual to find a human body deep inside a bay that had traveled across the Rosario Strait, so he consulted with scientists at the University of Washington and NOAA to determine tides and currents and path of travel. “The movement of a human body without a personal flotation device in an around the San Juan Islands is very dynamic and unpredictable; but over the course of 90 hours or so, reaching this interior location was reasonable, even if thought it rarely happens.”