Murder Bore Out Fears Of Family -- Queen Anne Postal Worker Held In Death Of Prostitute
All yesterday afternoon, the family of 28-year-old Alane Alice Scott talked about her and the man police think may have killed her.
"It takes a . . . pervert to do that," said her stepfather, Mike Nagel, referring to the gruesome way Scott died and the 47-year-old Seattle man arrested yesterday morning in the slaying.
Scott was a known prostitute, a one-time topless dancer and a drug user. For years her family warned her of the risks of her lifestyle but even they couldn't portend what would happen to her.
Police say the suspect, expected to make a court appearance today, stabbed Scott to death and then cut off her head and right arm. Scott's body was found in North Seattle about midnight Sunday. A bag containing some of her clothing later was found on Queen Anne Hill.
Traffic stop was crucial
Police told her family how a string of events that started with a traffic stop by a Washington State Patrol trooper led to the arrest of the suspect yesterday morning.
The suspect, a postal clerk, lives in an apartment in the 500 block of Prospect Street on lower Queen Anne Hill. Police yesterday searched the apartment and his car for "the instruments" that may have been used in the killing. A city sewer-cleaning truck was brought in to vacuum nearby sewer pipes for possible clues.
Chief Patrick Fitzsimons said Seattle police were contacted by the state trooper after news reports of the killing appeared and after Seattle police began querying other police jurisdictions.
"The trooper made a stop and his suspicions were aroused," said Fitzsimons. The chief declined to specify what made the trooper suspicious.
The traffic stop was made just north of Seattle, apparently after the killing. The trooper, who patrols the Shoreline area, made a notation of the license number of the car, then contacted Seattle police.
Fitzsimons said the suspect "does not appear to have a record."
The couple who manage the 11-unit complex on the south slope of Queen Anne Hill said little was known about the suspect except that he has lived in the unit for seven to 10 years, paid his rent on time, and is thought to work nights for a U.S. Postal Service facility on South Lander Street.
Residents described him as shy and a loner. He stuttered, one resident recalled. He made quick conversation, if any at all, looking at the ground and avoiding eye contact as he talked to people.
"He was a shy guy," the co-manager said, although the suspect gave him a Christmas card every year. "There was nothing he did that made me think he was capable of that."
Suspect behaved strangely
Another resident said the suspect never opened his curtains despite having a nearly unobstructed view of the downtown skyline. "Isn't that a little odd when you have such a beautiful view of Seattle?" said Jan Medford, who lives in the apartment below the suspect's. "He was very reclusive."
But recently, the suspect was becoming more cordial, inviting Medford and her husband, Mark, to join him for pizza. The suspect also made a similar invitation to another couple in the complex. Both couples declined the offer.
"He was an odd individual in that he talked to himself," Mark Medford said. On Monday, for instance, he saw the suspect walking and talking to himself and nodding.
Police said the suspect and Scott had no known relationship.
But Scott's sister, Robin, 25, said the man's name sounded familiar and she thought her sister may have talked about him. "It rings a bell," she said.
Warnings went unheeded
Alane Scott worked as a prostitute and her family said they'd often tried to warn her of the dangers of such a life.
Scott made no secret of her work.
"Like she told me, `I love my job, you love yours,' " Nagel said.
The family had often tried to talk her out of the life of drugs and prostitution, said her mother, Donna.
"She said she's a big girl, `I can take care of myself.' "
Scott was one of three sisters born to Donna Scott and her husband. The third sister, Andrea, is in the military. Their father now lives in Ferndale, Whatcom County, and the girls sometimes lived with him. Donna and Mike Nagel said they've been together 15 years and have lived at their house on Delridge Way Southwest for eight years.
Scott never lived there, however, and her mother said she'd seen little of her daughter for years. She attended Chief Sealth High School but wasn't serious about her studies. "She was in the front door and out the back," said her mother. She got a general-education degree in 1982.
Victim served jail time
Scott became involved in drugs and prostitution years ago and served a three-year sentence in the Multnomah County jail in Portland recently for drug and prostitution convictions, said Nagel. The family last saw her the day after Father's Day.
"We never heard from her again," he said.
The family said she had no permanent address, didn't own a car and usually lived with friends or out of a duffel bag that contained things like letters and makeup. She'd worked as a topless dancer for two months at one point, they said, but supported herself through prostitution. She was the mother of four chidren, the youngest 17 months, all of whom are being, or have been, adopted.
A defense attorney who represented Scott said she'd represented a thousand clients like Scott and most of them blend together, but Alane was different.
"She was smart. She was a smart cookie," said the attorney, who asked not to be identified. "She was an attractive woman. She had a lot going for her. That was what was so aggravating. . . . I kept telling her, `You're too smart for this.' "
The attorney said she last saw her client about two years ago.
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