Suspect in slaying arrested

TACOMA - A fugitive drifter who has evaded law enforcement for months after allegedly killing a man in Spanaway was arrested early Thursday after trying to burglarize a former employer, police said.

A Pierce County sheriff’s K-9 team tracked 39-year-old Robert Dalton Tucksen to a wooded area near Eighth Avenue at Joint Base Lewis-Mc-Chord and took him into custody.

Investigators planned to secure a search warrant so they can search a secluded camp where Tucksen likely has been hiding since June.

“This is a guy we really wanted out of the woods and off the streets,” said Ed Troyer, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies were called just before 4 a.m. to a home/ business in the 19700 block of Mountain Highway on a report of a burglary in progress.

The victim reportedly recognized Tucksen, who was arrested 90 minutes later.

Tucksen is a survivalist with an extensive criminal background. He has been convicted of kidnapping, assault, domestic violence and possession of drugs and a weapon.

In June, prosecutors charged him with second-degree murder in the slaying of 21-year-old Zachariah Wright.

The two got into a heated argument about whether Tucksen was sleeping with Wright’s girlfriend, and Tucksen stabbed Wright as they grappled at a Spanaway home, according to court documents.

When Wright staggered away, Tucksen pursued him and stabbed him several more times, court documents state.

Wright’s body was discov- ered June 13 after firefighters extinguished a blaze at the duplex and found his body inside.

An autopsy determined that Wright died after having his throat slashed.

Investigators say Tucksen also remains a person of interest in the disappearance of his girlfriend, who has not been seen since 2005.

“We’ve got a guy who has already killed somebody, and his wife is still missing,” Troyer said. “He’s a person of interest, yes.”

A search was launched for 42-year-old Pamela Kuich in June 2005 after the couple’s 2-year-old son was found abandoned at a Parkland church with a cheeseburger and water.

Tucksen told investigators then that Kuich left with their son after telling him she didn’t want to live in a tent in the woods.

Family members said the couple had an on-again, off-again relationship for the better part of a decade.

Tucksen assaulted and kidnapped Kuich in Oregon, police records state. She filed a restraining order against him in September 2000, but they remained together.

Several unconfirmed sightings of Tucksen have been reported over the past few months. The Sheriff’s Office has tried to track him down by putting him on Washington’s Most Wanted list and offering rewards leading to his arrest.

Tucksen’s mother, Debra, said Thursday that she had just heard about the arrest and wasn’t ready to talk about it yet.