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Snohomish County Sheriff's Office takes over Gowdey investigation

Hodges Gowdey appears in Island County Superior Court earlier this month. - Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times
Hodges Gowdey appears in Island County Superior Court earlier this month.
— image credit: Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times

An investigation into a Coupeville deputy marshal has been turned over to a detective with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, according to Oak Harbor Police Chief Ed Green.

Hodges Gowdey, a 13-year veteran of the Coupeville Town Marshal’s Office, was charged in Island County Superior Court on Feb. 11 with unlawful imprisonment and witness tampering. The instances are charged as domestic-violence-related crimes.

Police allege that Gowdey, 44, got into a fight in 2007 with his then-girlfriend and handcuffed her on the side of a road; he also allegedly later coached her to not to tell investigators about the handcuffing incident, according to the police report.

Gowdey was released from jail after posting a $30,000 bond.

Gowdey’s attorney, Chris Skinner of Oak Harbor, said his client will plead not guilty at his March 3 arraignment.

“We will be aggressively defending the case,” Skinner said.

Green said the case was handed over to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.

Detective Brad Pince, who is taking over the case, said he’s looking into new allegations against Gowdey, but he doesn’t know if they will lead to additional charges.

The recent allegations against Gowdey came to light while the Town of Coupeville was in the process of disbanding the marshal’s office and entering into a contract with the sheriff’s office to provide police services.

Under law, Gowdey — the Coupeville department’s only remaining deputy — has the right to employment at the sheriff’s office if he passes the background check.

The background check, however, led to the criminal case against Gowdey.

Island County Undersheriff Kelly Mauck looked into a 2007 internal investigation of Gowdey’s argument with his then-girlfriend outside Coupeville Town Hall.

Mauck contacted the woman, who now claims that the argument continued beyond what she reported six years ago.

After Mauck alerted him to the new allegations, Coupeville Marshal Lance Davenport asked Detective Sgt. Teri Gardner with the Oak Harbor Police to look into the possible criminal allegations.

According to Gardner’s report, the alleged victim said Gowdey pursued her in his patrol car on the night of the fight. She said he had her and pull over along the side of Madrona Way.

Gowdey allegedly screamed at the woman to get out of the car and allegedly punched the car, leaving a dent. She said she told him that she “couldn’t take it” and she might as well drive off the road.

Gowdey allegedly pulled her out of the car and led her to the back of the vehicle. Gowdey then allegedly “leaned her over the trunk like she was being arrested, and handcuffed her, telling her that since she was suicidal, he was taking her into protective custody,” the report states.

The woman said Gowdey let her go after 10 minutes.

The woman also claimed Gowdey later told her he was being investigated about the fight. She said he coached her not to say anything about the Madrona Way incident, the report states.

Gardner interviewed Gowdey about the allegation. Gardner wrote that Gowdy admitted he may have dented his former girlfriend’s car in the incident, but he didn’t remember whether he handcuffed her.

Gowdey said he doesn’t believe she was suicidal, the report states. He also denies coaching the woman about what to say during the internal investigation.

Gowdey was charged in King County in 1999 with fourth-degree assault, a misdemeanor domestic-violence charge, according to court records. He was found not guilty at trial.

 

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