Displaced rage drove Zina’s killer
Terapon Adhahn was angry the night of July 4, 2007.
He’d hoped to pick up his son for a little one-on-one time that evening, but the child and the boy’s mother weren’t home when he stopped by unannounced.
Adhahn, then 42, flew into a rage, even though it wasn’t his night to have his son.
“I wanted to destroy a human, cause pain,” he told two FBI agents during a Sept. 8, 2008, interview at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, according to recently filed court documents.
He still was “seeing red” a few hours later when he spotted 12-year-old Zina Linnik pedaling her bicycle on Tacoma’s Hilltop.
Within five minutes, the girl was in his van, bound with plastic ties and praying aloud, Adhahn told the agents. Not long after that, she was dead.
Tacoma police detective Lindsey Wade documented Adhahn’s comments in a report she filed in June 2009. Wade and fellow detective Bradley Graham observed Adhahn’s interview with the FBI.
She waited nine months to write the report to give Lakewood police more time to investigate Adhahn’s possible connection to the disappearance of Adre’anna Jackson, a 10-year-old girl who went missing on her way to school in 2005 and later was found dead.
Detectives call Adhahn a person of interest in that case, but he’s not been charged.
Wade’s report – made public recently as part of a wrongful death lawsuit brought by Zina’s parents – is the first public glimpse of how Adhahn snatched the girl, and why.
In the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, the family contends Pierce County and the state did not do enough to monitor Adhahn and that the City of Tacoma was negligent in not issuing an Amber Alert for her sooner.
THE FBI INTERVIEW
The man now serving a life sentence for killing Zina and raping two other girls told local investigators little after his arrest, aside from leading them to her body. He said even less in court appearances.
Adhahn talked to the FBI agents for nearly six hours, according to Wade’s report. He agreed to talk because he wanted to do something good in accordance with his Buddhist faith, the report states.
He covered his abduction of Zina and that of another Tacoma girl he kidnapped and raped on Fort Lewis in 2000. That girl survived. He said he snatched her after a fight with his girlfriend left him livid.
Adhahn said he “wanted to control and toy with someone the way it was done to me,” Wade wrote.
He also talked about what he saw as his family’s and society’s unfair discrimination against sex offenders.
Wade later said in a deposition that Adhahn considers himself a victim “because he feels like his family turned their back on him when he raped his sister.”
He was convicted in that case and forced to register his address with law enforcement.
“I think he talked about how, you know, sex offenders are branded and looked upon poorly,” she said in the deposition, which recently was filed as part of the Zinnik family’s lawsuit. “He basically made it all about him.”
Zina, Adhahn told the agents, was a target of opportunity. He said he drove his van into the alley behind her house and waited for her to come by after he saw her riding her bike.
Adhahn said he got out of the van, walked toward her and offered a greeting when she entered the alley. He grabbed her when she turned away, covered her mouth with his arm and, despite her struggles, dragged her into the van.
Adhahn said he drove off the Hilltop to a secluded area where he bound her hands and feet with plastic ties and put a rag in her mouth and secured it with another tie, according to Wade’s report.
He then began driving toward his Parkland home.
“On drive home, maybe on freeway, about halfway home, he could hear her making noise and thought the rag slipped out of her mouth,” Wade wrote. “He grabbed the zip tie and tightened it. Said he thinks the zip tie slipped down to her neck – didn’t realize it as her hair was long.”
When he got home, the girl was dead, Adhahn told the FBI agents.
He went into the house, drank some beer, then brought Zina’s body inside, where he molested it. Adhahn said he later rolled her up in a blanket and put her into a small room where he stored his tools.
The next day he went to work.
A few days later, he drove her body to Silver Lake in eastern Pierce County and dumped it. He later took her clothes to Tiger Mountain in eastern King County and dumped them there, he said.
Pierce County medical examiners ruled the girl died of blunt force trauma to the head with “asphyxia secondary to smothering” as a contributing factor.
An expert hired by the Linnik family does not agree with that finding and has requested records from the Medical Examiner’s Office to review.
“My review of the photographs and autopsy report suggest alternative or additional pathological diagnosis are probable,” Dr. Sigmund Menchel wrote in an affidavit filed earlier this month.
Adhahn told FBI agents he doesn’t remember hitting the girl but it’s possible, given his state of mind at the time.
He said he didn’t intend to kill her.
“Just wanted to give the hurt, pain, humiliation that I felt,” Adhahn said.
The FBI agents asked him what would have happened had he not been caught. Would he have raped and possibly killed again?
“Would say yeah,” Adhahn replied.
Wade wrote that the killer showed emotion only once – when asked about his thoughts about Zina’s parents. Adhahn told the agents he wanted to meet them so he could tell them what happened.
His dreams are haunted, he said, by visions of Zina’s eyes.
Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644