Medical Examiner: Cheryl DeBoer died of asphyxiation, freshwater drowning

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    Cheryl DeBoer

    The Snohomish County Medical Examiner determined Monday that 53-year-old Cheryl DeBoer died of asphyxiation and freshwater drowning.

    According to the medical examiner’s report, the Mountlake Terrace woman suffocated by a plastic bag over her head. Freshwater drowning was also listed as a cause of death.

    The manner of death is listed as “undetermined.”

    “At this point in the investigation, there is nothing to suggest DeBoer’s death was the result of an act of homicidal violence,” Mountlake Terrace Police Chief Greg Wilson said in a press release.

    Investigators with Mountlake Terrace Police are continuing their investigation into this case. For now, they are waiting for the examination of DeBoer’s computers, cell phone records and other collected items of evidence. That information may assist investigators in determining the manner of death.

    “We don’t want to say what it is yet, as we are still investigating, but there is no evidence of homicidal violence,” Mountlake Terrace Deputy Police Chief Pete Caw said. “We don’t know what it is yet.”

    A memorial of flowers displayed a month ago near the culvert where DeBoer’s body was found.

    DeBoer’s body was found in a culvert near Cedar Way and 244th Street Southwest five weeks ago. She had been missing for nearly a week before that. She was last heard from on Monday, Feb. 8 on her way to work, but she never arrived at the office or back home.

    Blood was found inside DeBoer’s car, on the passenger seat and inside the front passenger door. The medical examiner also found small cuts on two of DeBoer’s fingers, but said those cuts appear to be self-inflicted.


    1. I totally agree! !! How are we not supposed to be concerned. Do we have a murderer loose in our neighborhood? ??? It’s very upsetting!

    2. I find this ludicrous that this could possibly be labeled either an “accident” or a “self inflicted” death. The circumstances are way too bizarre. Her car found up by the library? Her body found way down on Cedar Way? Plastic bag over her head? Blood in her car? Come on!

    3. Does the MLT police think the readers are stupid? A bag over her head and then signs of fresh water drowning; someone tortured this poor woman or perhaps she was unconscious when her killer(s) dumped her in the culvert. God, help her family get some closure and justice.

    4. Wasn’t she also found near her car…100 yrds or so, same as Amy Kennelley in the woods in Edmonds 3 weeks ago… 100 yrds from her vehicle, personal belongs strewn in a back yard near the vehicle…there is more to that story also that they haven’t reported

    5. I don’t think the police want to report much to us as it is under investigation. It’s more of a strategic move so the public doesn’t impede too much but also give out enough to maybe have people come forth who have knowledge that could pertain to the pieces they’ve given us.

    6. I’ve heard of more bizarre suicides…but give MLT a break. They are reporting the medical examiner’s finding, that’s all. He sees no facts of homicide. The investigation is on going. Let them finish it before you armchair quarterback with absolutely no skills or training in forensics.

    7. PUBLIC NOTICE from MLT Police Department: There are reports of flying attack, plastic bags. Beware when walking near streams & ditches. What a bunch of numbskulls.
      Please help this family find some closure.

    8. This seems likely to be a suicide. I you review the morning she became missing her behavior seemed very odd. Instead of being part of her normal car pool she called and said she would drive herself that morning. He body didn’t show signs of being the victim of physical violence. The cut marks on a couple of fingers while apparently still in her car appeared self-inflicted. Nothing has turned up that suggests anybody else was involved. It still warrants investigation but so far everything suggests suicide.

    9. There is much more to it than this, and the police will indeed release that information when it’s timely and prudent for them to do so. There is no doubt other evidence like toxicology reports and many investigative details still being analyzed that take time.

      There is not a conspiracy going on. There is not a cover up. For all we know police could be imminently ready to arrest a suspect.

      Best not to second guess. The police would be obligated to share with everyone if we had a serial killer situation going on. It would be in their best interest.

      No one believes that Ms. DeBoer put a plastic bag over her head, and drown herself in what would be very cold water. It doesn’t add up.

      Bless you, Cheryl.

    10. I appreciate that some folks are frightened, but April and John rightly point out that law enforcement handling the case know what they’re doing. As for the reportedly small, “self-inflicted” cuts on the victim’s fingers, that can easily happen when cutting up fruit and veggies. Please give our cops some credit.


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