OLYMPIA - A 27-year-old homicide victim found stuffed in a storage container Friday morning in her husband's garage near Lacey is an Iraq War veteran who was discharged from the Army so she could raise her daughter, her father said outside court Monday.
“It’s a big loss for me,” Carlos Goseyun said of his daughter, Winter Plummer.
Goseyun, a former police officer, caught a flight to Washington from his home at the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in southeastern Arizona over the weekend after hearing of his daughter’s death. He said his daughter was a member of the San Carlos Apache Indian Tribe. Winter Plummer’s 2-year-old daughter also is a tribal member, and Goseyun said she will be returning with him to the reservation.
Winter Plummer’s husband, Sgt. Sheldon Plummer, a Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier, was being held Monday at the Thurston County Jail on suspicion of second-degree murder in connection with his wife’s death. A judge set Plummer’s bail at $750,000 during a court hearing Monday.
Also during the hearing, Thurston County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jon Tunheim left open the possibility that the charge could be amended to first-degree murder if evidence is found that his wife’s homicide was premeditated.
Sheldon Plummer returned from his third deployment to Iraq in August. He is on leave from the military as he awaits the outcome of his criminal case.
Sheldon Plummer’s commanding officer was in court Monday. According to court records, Plummer told a court official that his mother and his girlfriend also would be present for the hearing. The commanding officer and two women present during Monday’s hearing declined to comment outside court.
Winter Plummer was strangled with a rope or ropelike object and struck on the head, said Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock.
According to court papers, Sheldon Plummer admitted to strangling his wife after a dispute Feb. 19. Plummer told detectives that “he strangled his wife after she attacked him with a knife during an argument.”
Thurston County sheriff’s detectives began investigating Winter Plummer’s disappearance April 18, after one of Sheldon Plummer’s friends, also an Army soldier, called the Sheriff’s Office to say that Sheldon Plummer had called him and “wanted advice on how to dispose of a body.”
When detectives spoke with Plummer, he said that about a month earlier his wife had packed three suitcases and left after an argument. But Thurston County sheriff’s Lt. Chris Mealy has said Plummer’s timeline of when his wife left was inconsistent.
Detectives later found that Plummer had pawned his wife’s jewelry, Mealy has said. Detectives thought it was suspicious that Winter Plummer’s car was still parked at their apartment complex at The Village at Nisqually Ridge apartments near Lacey, Mealy has said. They also thought it odd that she would abandon her 2-year-old daughter, according to Mealy.
Sheldon Plummer had disposed of some of Winter Plummer’s belongings in an attempt to make it appear as though she had left, Tunheim said during Monday’s court hearing.
Tunheim said that Sheldon Plummer was developing an elaborate plan to get rid of his wife’s body in order to evade detection. He even sent text messages from her cell phone to her family members in Arizona after her death, in an effort to make them believe she was still alive.
After detectives initially interviewed Sheldon Plummer on April 18, he removed Winter Plummer’s body from a local storage unit and placed it in his garage, court papers state. Sheldon Plummer confessed to the homicide on Friday, Mealy said.
Goseyun said he visited Winter and Sheldon Plummer over Christmas and saw discord in their marriage. He said the couple argued frequently. “I had a feeling he was going to snap sooner or later,” he said.
When asked why the couple fought, Goseyun said Winter believed Sheldon “got a little too friendly with other female unit members.”
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jodilyn Erikson-Muldrew has said Sheldon Plummer had no documented history of domestic violence against his wife. He also has no prior criminal history or arrest record.
Winter Plummer was an avid athlete and played softball, volleyball and basketball in high school, her father said. “Basketball was her favorite,” he said.
“She wanted to have a better life, so she joined the Army,” he said.
Winter Plummer wanted to leave her husband, but she was concerned that he would try to get custody of their daughter, and “she opted to stay with him,” Goseyun said.
One of Sheldon Plummer’s friends e-mailed The Olympian on Monday and wrote that she is shocked he is now accused of murder.
“I knew Sheldon Plummer fairly well growing up, we went to all the same schools and I even signed as a witness when he got married,” wrote Blanca Salas.
“He is the last person in the world that I would ever think capable of murder,” she wrote.
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5465