Kent police hit road block in probe of Port Angeles man’s death

Christopher Ochs

Christopher Ochs

KENT — Police have hit an impasse in an investigation into the fatal beating of a former Port Angeles man at a SeaTac-area hotel.

Christopher Thomas Ochs, 36, a Class of 2000 Port Angeles High School graduate and a varsity member of the boys basketball team, died Dec. 21.

Kent Police Detective Melanie Robinson said Thursday that police have hit a blank wall on who assaulted Ochs, leaving him unconscious before he died six days later.

“We have absolutely nothing right now,” Robinson said.

According to a witness, two adults, one of whom might have been female, fled from the area between two buildings on the grounds of the Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham Kent/Sea-Tac Airport, at 6329 S. 212th St, at about 9:50 a.m. Dec. 15, leaving Ochs critically injured.

It appears that after the assault at the extended-stay hotel, the two were seen fleeing toward the neighboring Shell gas station in the 6300 block of South 212th, Robinson said.

Robinson said Ochs, suffering from severe head trauma, was first treated at Valley Medical Center in Renton before being transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he died of his injuries.

“Chris was a kind, intelligent and talented young man who many idolized and inspired to be,” according to his obituary, which said he was born in Omak and had attended Peninsula College in Port Angeles.

“He had a gentle soul and kind heart that all who knew him will never forget.”

Casey Ulin, the Port Angeles High School boys basketball coach who grew up in Forks, said he played against Ochs when Ochs played at Roosevelt Middle School, at the high school and in the men’s basketball league.

“When you grow up in a small town, you play against each other your whole life,” Ulin said.

“It seemed like people liked to be around him.

“He had a lot of talent and also a lot of potential.

“I pray for him, and I pray for some healing in that family because they are going through a lot right now.”

Police said the assault did not appear random and that the assailants may have known Ochs.

Robinson said authorities initially identified Ochs from his driver’s license as living in Port Angeles.

“There is information to suggest he was in our area off and on,” she said.

“It’s safe to say he was recently living in the Kent area between Kent and Seattle.”

Robinson said the attack was reported to police at 1:12 p.m. Dec. 15, more than three hours after the 9-1-1 call that was made after the attack.

“Quite honestly, initially, what it looks like, we have this happen all the time, [a person] with head trauma comes back” from being unconscious and is able to talk with police, she said.

“This was a sad situation where this poor guy, days later, passed away.”

Police on Thursday were doing what they could “to find anyone who may have seen the situation,” Robinson said.

“We think witnesses who maybe were staying at the hotel and have information were never contacted by the police,” she said.

Investigators are asking for anyone who may have witnessed the attack or seen suspected assailants fleeing to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or the Kent police tip line at 253-856-5808.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

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