Medical Examiner releases causes of deaths

Kevin Rowe killed his family before killing himself

November 22, 2017 - by Danette Beckley

Today Medical Examiner Dr. Gary Goldfogel sent the Bellingham Police Department his findings regarding the causes and times of death for Tanya, Benton, and Kevin Rowe. 

“Autopsies have been completed on the 3 bodies recovered from the residence on Spring Vista Place in the Cordata neighborhood.  The 5 year old child Benton Rowe and his mother Tanya Rowe died following sharp force injuries to their necks.  The manner of death for both child and mother is homicide.  The father Kevin Rowe is the perpetrator of the trauma.  His cause of death is asphyxia by exclusion of oxygen following securing a bag over his head.  His manner of death is certified suicide.  The events occurred in relatively rapid succession in the family home without other persons present and without outside call for aid, during evening or nighttime hours on the night prior to discovery Monday,” said Dr. Goldfogel.

These findings are consistent with the evidence Crime Scene Investigators and Detectives found at the scene.  Tanya was found in a bedroom, Benton was found in a bedroom, and Kevin was found in the garage.  A large kitchen-type knife was recovered at the scene and is believed to be the weapon Kevin Rowe used to commit these horrific acts.

Detectives continue to interview family members, neighbors, and friends trying to gain an understanding of why this took place.  We may never know why Kevin did this to his family.

“I am unable to adequately describe the profound impact this tragedy has had upon our community.  Over the past few days I have observed the outpouring of respect and compassion for the Kerstiens and Rowe families from their friends, co-workers, and acquaintances who had the privilege to know them,” said Bellingham Police Chief Cliff Cook. “As our department continues to investigate this incomprehensible event, we also wish to extend our heartfelt sympathies to the entire Kerstiens and Rowe families for their loss. ”        



Media Contact

​Danette Beckley, Public Information
Bellingham Police Department

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