A burden of truth: Probe into Tulalip woman's death

The Everett Herald ran a two-part story on the death of Sophia Solomon, a member of the Tulalip Tribes of Washington.

Solomon, 23, was found hanging from a tree three days before Christmas 2004. The official cause of death was suicide.

Solomon's mother, Tamara Hayes, didn't accept that answer. Neither did Tulalip officers Dave Lott and Marlin Fryberg Jr., who reopened the case four months after Solomon died.

The investigation led them back to Wesley Jefferson, Solomon's boyfriend. A member of the Lummi Nation, Jefferson told police that Solomon threatened to kill herself. He said he found her hanging from the tree.

The officers found inconsistencies in Jefferson's story. The day she died, he claimed she had gone missing and that he went to look for her with his 16-year-old cousin.

The cousin, who lives on the Lummi Reservation, proved to be a crucial link. He told Lott and Fryberg that he saw Jefferson strangle Solomon and hang her from the tree.

Jefferson was quickly arrested. He pleaded guilty in federal court to voluntary manslaughter and covering up his crime. He is serving 10 years in prison.

Solomon had three children with Jefferson. They live with Hayes.

Get the Story:
A burden of truth: Tulalip police reopen investigation into woman's death (The Everett Herald 11/26)
To many, suicide just didn't add up (The Everett Herald 11/27)

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