PORT ANGELES — Nearly a month after three people were found shot and killed east of Port Angeles, the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office has made an arrest in the triple homicide that left many in the community on edge.
Dennis M. Bauer, 50, was booked into the Clallam County jail for investigation of three counts of second-degree murder after a State Patrol SWAT team raided a property on the 2500 block of Lower Elwha Road on Thursday morning.
Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King said the arrest was made in connection with the triple homicide at 52 Bear Meadow Road.
A welfare check on New Year’s Eve led to the discovery that Darrell C. Iverson, 57; his son, Jordan D. Iverson, 27; and the son’s girlfriend, Tiffany A. May, 26, had all been shot and killed.
The gruesome scene was discovered on New Year’s Eve when the Iversons’ bodies were found covered by tarps and debris in the front of the house. May’s body was found the next day in a locked outbuilding.
All three were honored during a vigil earlier this month.
King said the SWAT team executed the warrant early in the morning — at about 7:35 a.m. — due to safety concerns and due to the complexity of the scene. They used a stun grenade and arrested Bauer without incident.
King said the warrant was issued after investigators found probable cause that evidence of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and unlawful posession of firearms were at the address.
There are multiple structures on the property with many people living on the property, which caused safety concerns for law enforcement, King said.
“It created a tactical nightmare, so we had the experts … execute our warrant,” King said. “Intelligence we learned through interviews … led us to believe there was an element of danger for officer safety.
“We spent a significant amount of time with our tactics to ensure the community was safe,” he said. “You can see that by the sheer volume of law enforcement in the area and the time of day was chosen strategically.”
He said Bauer is “believed to be involved” in their deaths but he did not call him the shooter.
King said their investigation led officials to believe there would be firearms at the property, which is not on the Lower Elwha Klallam reservation, and said there is believed to be “extensive drug use” there.
That, paired with Bauer’s arrest record and 2006 conviction of possession of sawed-off firearm, created concerns, King said.
He declined to say what links the suspect to the slaying and said law enforcement would be on scene for much of the day looking for evidence. He said that information would be available in court records.
“We have probable cause to believe that evidence of the crime is located here,” King said.
Currently, Bauer is booked for investigation of second-degree murder, but King said the charge could change.
“That is what we can prove at this point based on our probable cause,” King said. “That can be changed or adjusted by the prosecutor based on an evaluation of the evidence.”
King said generally it is difficult to prove pre-meditation, which is required for first-degree murder.
Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Nichols said a charging decision likely would be made early next week.
Bauer is expected to appear in Clallam County Superior Court at 1 p.m. today where a judge will decide conditions of release.
“We’re closely tracking the status of the investigation and awaiting additional information so we can perform charging review,” Nichols said.
Nichols said that if a charging decision is not made today, it is likely Bauer will be held on a 72-hour hold.
Investigators have said they believe the Iversons and May were killed on or about Dec. 26. Video from a neighbors dash camera showed the tarps the Iversons were found under were moved that day.
Based on evidence at the scene, investigators have said the whoever was involved knew the victims, but have not said what that evidence is.
King said five people on the property were detained and released; only one person was arrested.
He said detectives from the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, Port Angeles Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Port Townsend Police Department and State Patrol were searching the property for evidence.
The FBI and Olympic Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Team have also helped with the investigation.
King said the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office’s tip line at 360-417-2540.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].