Cigarette butt DNA leads police to woman who set fire to carwash three years ago - Professional Carwashing & Detailing
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Cigarette butt DNA leads police to woman who set fire to carwash three years ago

BURIEN, Wash. — At the time, police did not have enough evidence to identify her.


BURIEN, Wash. — According to, in September 2016, a woman poured charcoal lighter fluid in the middle bay of the U-Do-It Car Wash, lit a match, set the bay on fire and drove off, but investigators have not had enough evidence to link her to the crime until now.

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Now, a DNA match made in early March has allowed the King County prosecutor’s office to charge Katherine Smith with first-degree reckless burning, the article continued.

“We had surveillance video, we had a picture of her, but nobody could identify her, and without this CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) match, this case would have went unsolved,” said Sgt. Ryan Abbott with the King County Sheriff’s Office. “We were able to use DNA from some cigarette butts that the suspect left behind, and we were able to confirm that they were hers.”

At the time, the fire caused over $5,000 in damage, according to the carwash owner, the article reported.

Abbott added that fire and homicide detectives are relying more and more on the CODIS database for more serious crimes, the article stated.

“This is a tool just for law enforcement and really helps us solve crimes,” he said. “Helps us solve some of the crimes that have been around for a long time that we haven’t been able to solve, and without this tool we wouldn’t be able to.”


A King County judge filed a bench warrant for Smith’s arrest in late March, the article noted.

Smith has been arrested 26 times, most recently in January, according to her criminal history, the article added.

“It’s a good thing that we’re able to get her off the street, hold her accountable for what she did, and hopefully stop future incidents, serious incidents like this from occurring,” Abbott said.

Read the original article here.

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