Edmonds police travel to North Bend to arrest molestation suspect

He asked officers: ‘Was I in the news?’
Oct 10, 2018

The search for a man suspected of molesting a 10-year-old girl at 99 Ranch Market in Edmonds had police poring over more than 80 tips from the public, two of which eventually led to a manufactured-home community in the shadow of Mount Si in North Bend.

It was there, on Oct. 3, that detectives and the Street Crimes Unit of the Edmonds Police Department arrested 50-year-old Jeffrey Allen Cook, convicted of child molestation in 1998 and communication with a minor for immoral purposes in 2017.

On Monday, Oct. 8, Cook was charged with one count of first-degree child molestation. Bail was previously set at $500,000.

According to a probable-cause report from Edmonds Police, Officer Patrick Clark determined from Cook’s driver’s license records that the suspect drove a blue Ford Explorer. He joined Sgt. Ken Ploeger – in an unmarked vehicle with full police uniforms – to observe the scene with the help of binoculars.

“I believe he looked similar to the suspect in the case,” Ploeger reported.

After making contact, the suspect acknowledged he was Cook, but didn’t know where Edmonds was and had never been to Edmonds. Cook, whose driver’s license is registered in Georgia, claimed he was in Indiana the previous week.

As Ploeger spoke to Cook, the sergeant noticed that the suspect took a deep breath and clenched his fist two or three times – behavior that, through his police experience, told Ploeger that Cook was ready to run.

Ploeger placed the suspect in handcuffs and read him his rights.

While in the unmarked car, Cook said that his boss could vouch for his whereabouts on the day of the incident, which was Sept. 15. But the boss, contacted by Ploeger, could not confirm that the suspect was in North Bend on that day.

Cook continued to speak in the police car, asking how the officers found him.

“Was I in the news?” he asked.

“I thought this was odd,” Ploeger said, “because all I had showed him or talked to him about was the surveillance photos (from 99 Ranch Market). His comments seemed to be related to the surveillance photos.”

The suspect also claimed he has memory loss and occasionally blacks out. He said he takes medication.

The officers transported Cook to the Edmonds Police station, where detectives interviewed him some more. According to Detective Stacie Trykar, the lead investigator on the case, Cook maintained he was in North Bend at the time of the crime, but said that if it was him at 99 Ranch Market, and if he touched the girl, he didn’t do it intentionally.

“He then inferred,” Trykar said, “it could have been possible that it was him in the store, but due to his memory issues caused by medical conditions, he had no memory of it.”

Two suspected incidents

It was on Sept. 15 at about 4 p.m. that a 99 Ranch Market security camera captured the suspect lingering in the store’s busy fish department, according to the police report. The video showed the suspect following a mother walking with her two young daughters.

At one point, the suspect cut in front of them, forcing them to stop. Just prior to the assault, the suspect is seen with his left hand in his left-hand shorts pocket. It was then, the report states, that he appeared to brush his hand onto the front part of the 10-year-old’s body.

She reported that he touched her private area between her legs.

The suspect then quickly exited the store, as the mother called 911.

About an hour later, the same suspect entered the Asian food market H Mart in Lynnwood, as verified by Edmonds Police after looking at surveillance video from that store. An anonymous tip had come from a father who reported the same man tried to sexually assault his daughter after the incident in Edmonds.

According to the police, the suspect appeared to be masturbating while in the store.

 

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