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Sunday, January 27, 2002 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Stabbing victim lived at YWCA

Seattle Times staff reporter

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The YWCA is traditionally a place where people are welcome, but yesterday the lobby to its downtown housing facility was closed to outsiders, its staff and residents shaken by an unsolved murder.

RaeAnn Champaco, 30, came to live at the YWCA about a year ago. On Jan. 18 she was found stabbed to death in a restroom at Freeway Park in downtown Seattle.

The King County Medical Examiner's Office released her identity after YWCA workers recognized a small color picture of her on fliers posted by Seattle police.

Residents at the YWCA are "very scared," said a YWCA clerk who asked that his name not be used. He said he has closed the lobby permanently.

Police are looking for a suspect — Larry William Dorsey, 38, who was charged with assaulting Champaco late last year in Port Orchard, police spokesman Scott Moss said.

Dorsey is Champaco's ex-fiancé, according to the YWCA clerk. Champaco, who is originally from Guam, has parents who live in Port Orchard, according to the medical examiner.

Police also want to question Dorsey, who has been known to show up at missions, about a stabbing last November, Moss said. He said the victim in that case identified Dorsey as the assailant.

"We're not allowing any traffic in or out except for those who live here," the YWCA clerk said. In the past the YWCA allowed passers-by to use its restroom, he said.

YWCA staff members remembered Champaco as a friendly resident in good standing.

"She came in through the shelter program," the clerk said. "She followed the rules, she was a good girl, paid the rent on time."

The clerk said Champaco became engaged to Dorsey last fall.

Because she could neither hear nor speak, she used sign language and writing to express her excitement.

Dorsey, 6 feet tall and black, always dressed well, the clerk said: button-down shirts, ties, slacks, shiny shoes.

"I never once saw him in a pair of tennis shoes," he said.

After the engagement was announced, Champaco left the shelter, but returned a few weeks later without the ring and moved back into the same room she had left.

Her fiancé didn't come around after that, and Champaco started seeing someone else, the clerk said.

Workers weren't sure of when she left or where she was going on the day she was killed; all they knew was that someone had left a couple of phone messages for her.

A small group of women found Champaco the morning of Jan. 18. When they ran screaming from the restroom, they saw a white, middle-aged man wearing a blue trench coat pull his coat over his head and run north through the park, police said.

Police surrounded the neighborhood and searched with dogs, but couldn't find anyone.

YWCA housing director Linda Weedman said her staff and residents are deeply saddened by the death.

"You build attachments to the people who live here," said the clerk. "I've been here for four years and to lose anyone is such a heartbreak."

Aydrea Walden can be reached at 206-464-2342 or awalden@seattletimes.com

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