The body of a man who drove his car into Cornet Bay and shot himself in the head early Tuesday morning was positively identified as that of Stoney Brunais, 46, of Stanwood, according to Island County Coroner Robert Bishop.
Brunais was wanted on a $500,000 arrest warrant issued by Island County Superior Court on March 13. He was charged March 10 with two counts of child rape in the first degree and four counts of child rape in the second degree.
A witness reported seeing Brunais on the phone inside of a 2012 Dodge Challenger parked on the boat launch just before 12:30 a.m.
After finishing the call, Brunais drove the car into the water. A few seconds later, the witness heard a “pop” sound, the Island County Sheriff’s Office reported.
Deputies responding to the witness’ 911 call found the car submerged in 15 feet of water and inaccessible. Divers were called to assist in pulling the car from the water.
The body was found still belted into the driver’s seat.
Officials speculated that Brunais drove into the water before shooting himself in order to conceal his body. The car windows were open.
“It would have been a long time before we found him if it hadn’t been for the witness,” Bishop said.
Cause of death for Brunais was a handgun wound and the manner was suicide, the coroner said.
Police reports indicate that Brunais was accused of raping two girls numerous times over the course of years, beginning when one of the girls was 7 years old. The crimes allegedly occurred in Yakima, Snohomish and Island counties.
Brunais was arrested in the Snohomish County case. He had a preliminary appearance, and the court found probable cause for child rape. He bailed out, according to the Island County Prosecutor’s Office.
The police report indicates that the girls disclosed the abuse to a number of people over the years, including their mother and other family members, but authorities weren’t alerted to the allegations until a boyfriend of one of the girls told a school resource officer earlier this year, court records state.
The police report indicates that Brunais lived in a motorhome in Oak Harbor for a short period of time about three years ago.
A friend of the family started a GoFundMe account to cover memorial costs.