Months after a woman was found dead in a shopping cart in Ballard after suffering a fatal overdose, SPD detectives have identified two men suspected of dumping her body to avoid drawing attention to drug activity at their motor home.
The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has charged Michael Tarp, 56, and Michael Kircher, 33, with “unlawful disposal of human remains” and for failing to notify the coroner of Anne Zachariasen’s death after she overdosed outside of their RV.
An employee at an upholstery shop in the 1500 block of NW 46th Street discovered Zachariasen’s body shortly after arriving to work at 5:45 AM on November 19th, 2015. The employee noticed an overturned debris-filled shopping cart at the edge of a yard, which hadn’t been there when he closed up shop the night before. As the employee tried to move the cart, Zachariasen’s body, which had been wrapped in a sheet, fell from the cart onto the ground.
SPD Homicide Detective Rolf Norton began investigating Zachariasen’s death and tracked down surveillance footage from a business. Video which showed two men pushing a shopping cart through the Ballard neighborhood about two hours before the body was discovered. The men, however, weren’t immediately identifiable in the video.
An autopsy by the King County Medical Examiner’s office found no signs of injuries on Zachariasen and ruled her death a probable accident, caused by a combination of drugs and alcohol.
Police obtained Zachariasen’s cellphone records to find anyone she might have come into contact with, and eventually learned a man living in an RV under the Ballard Bridge had told a witness he had recently moved a woman’s body. Police identified the man as Michael Tarp and contacted him on December 21st at his RV, parked at NW 50th and 11th Avenue NW.
Tarp told police he had found Zachariasen’s body outside his RV and enlisted another man, later identified as Michael Kircher, to help him move her. Tarp and Kirchner were both concerned Zachariason’s overdose would draw attention to narcotics activity at their motorhome, but denied providing her with any drugs.
Tarp and Kircher have both been charged in King County District court. Both men are scheduled to be arraigned in the next two weeks.