Husband Arrested for Murder of Wife 6 Years Ago; Body Was Left in Burien
Six years ago, the body of Nicole Pietz of Lynnwood was found in a wooded area of Burien.
Wednesday morning (March 21) her husband was arrested and booked into the King County Jail for investigation of second-degree murder in connection with her death.
King County Sheriff’s Sgt. Cindi West announced the arrest of Martin David Pietz, 34, early this afternoon.
Detectives with the sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit apprehended him outside his work place in Kirkland after what was described as “a long and thorough investigation.” The case had remained active as they continued putting evidence together.
The certification of determination of probable cause, filed with the King County Prosecutor’s Office, suggests that recent advances in technology played a critical role in linking Pietz to his wife’s death.
Nicole, who was 32, was reported missing by her husband the evening of Jan. 28, 2006. He told Lynnwood police she had missed dinner with friends.
Her nude body was found in muddy brush near Des Moines Memorial Drive and S. 145th St. on Feb. 6. No clothing or personal effects were found at or near the scene.
“She appeared to have been carefully laid [there] … and certainly did not walk there; the bottoms of her feet were clean,” the detectives’ statement said.
The King County Medical Examiner determined that she had been strangled.
Seattle police later found her 2003 Volkswagen Jetta abandoned in a downtown parking lot.
Two years after the murder, Nicole’s mother offered $35,000 of her own money as a reward for information leading to the arrest of the killer.
Detectives said “there is probable cause” to believe Nicole’s husband killed her “by strangling and beating her at their condo” between late the evening of Jan. 27, 2006, and early the next morning. “Yet at that time, according to the defendant, Nicole was alive and asleep.”
“He then dumped her body in a wooded area in the Burien area. He reported Nicole missing Saturday night [Jan. 28],” the statement continued.
But, they said, Pietz told Lynnwood police after he reported her missing that when he got up on the morning of Jan. 28, “she was gone.” Nicole had “planned to attend her regular Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in Renton … but did not show up.”
After getting off work late that afternoon, Pietz went to another couple’s home in Lynnwood, where Nicole was to meet him for dinner with them. “Nicole did not show up for the dinner. Martin told his friends he had not seen Nicole since the night before and had been unable to reach her all day. They encouraged him to call 911 and he did so.”
Detectives, noting that ‘recent technology allows the pinpointing of the location of cell calls in particular areas using cell tower information,” said records show that Nicole’s cell phone, although never found, “was used for only one call on Saturday [Jan. 28].”
That was a 21-second call allegedly placed at 11:50 a.m. by her husband “to 24-Hour Fitness, where Martin was working … two minutes after the defendant left his work area, an area that is monitored by cameras in the gym. He returned to this area eight minutes after the call ended.”
Cell tower information, detectives said, “shows the call on Nicole’s phone originated from a range of no more than three or four blocks around the gym – a range that includes the gym itself … the gym receptionist states she has no memory of Nicole calling at that time.”
In addition, “DNA profiles matching that of the defendant and consistent with Nicole Pietz were found” in her car, “but Nicole’s DNA was in very small quantities, while the defendant’s DNA was in much greater quantities.
“His DNA was on the gear shift, steering wheel, and windshield wiper knob, the last places a driver would have touched. There was no unidentified DNA in the car,” the statement says.
Detectives said they learned from interviews that the couple had financial problems, “that Martin had cheated on Nicole” that she had “learned that he tried to get other women to participate in a sexual ‘threesome’….
“Within a few weeks of Nicole’s body being found, the defendant began seeking out the phone numbers of new women to date.”
West said detectives encourage anyone with information about this case to call the King County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit at 206- 296-7530.