The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office has switched gears in the search for Gail Doyle, a 60-year-old Olympia woman allegedly killed by James E. Stidd, 66.
About 15 Sheriff’s Office employees had been searching a remote Eastern Washington landfill since mid-June, believing that Stidd had taken Doyle’s remains to the Thurston County Waste and Recovery Center, which serves as a transfer station to the landfill. But the search didn’t turn up anything, and Sgt. Carla Carter said the landfill is no longer the focus of the search.
On Thursday, the Sheriff’s Office turned to Stidd’s backyard. The Sheriff’s Office dug up portions of Stidd’s backyard on Thursday, but didn’t find any remains, Carter said.
According to court documents, Doyle may have been killed in a detached garage on Stidd’s property. Blood splatter was found on the floor, and DNA likely belonging to Doyle was identified on a hammer wrapped with strands of blonde hair.
Carter said the search continues in other areas, but she didn’t give specific search locations.
“We're still looking,” Carter said. “We’re following up on all leads, trying to close all the loops.”
Doyle was last seen June 2 in the company of Stidd in Olympia, and her family reported her missing June 4. Stidd was identified as a suspect in the case and arrested early June 9 near Ritzville in Eastern Washington. He has been charged with one count of second-degree murder, four counts of unlawful possession of a firearm, and one count of tampering with physical evidence.
At a June 10 preliminary hearing, a judge determined that because of Stidd’s financial situation, he did not qualify for a court-appointed attorney. But by his June 21 arraignment hearing, Stidd still hadn’t hired a lawyer. He will appear in Thurston County Superior Court next week for an attorney status hearing.
Stidd remains in the Thurston County Jail in lieu of $2 million bail.