Sara Barrett tried to get away from her husband.
She had him arrested for trying to smother her. She filed for protection orders, describing how he followed her, threatened her and abused her. She moved into her own apartment and struggled to stay away from him, even though their three sons and new granddaughter drew them together.
She used positive affirmations to try to move on, expressing joy and excitement about starting the second half of her life.
Barrett, a 42-year-old Spanaway woman who loved dancing and softball, will never get that chance.
Her body was found early Thursday in a Tacoma motel room, hours after Pierce County sheriff’s detectives say her estranged husband, Tony Barrett, 42, kidnapped her from outside work, killed her, called a television station to report what he’d done and led law enforcement on a high-speed chase.
Deputies discovered Sara Barrett’s body at the Motel 6 at 1811 S. 76th St. in Tacoma about 6:15 a.m.
“At this point, we believe she was killed in the motel room, but we don’t know if she was injured before that,” sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.
Authorities were working Thursday to determine how Barrett was killed.
Tony Barrett allegedly called KOMO News about 7:20 p.m. Wednesday to say that he had killed his wife and asked the station to post the report on Facebook. He did not provide details.
“It was supposed to be till death do us part, but she wouldn’t … ” KOMO reported the man said.
The television station alerted authorities, and sheriff’s deputies were able to identify the man and immediately began searching for his wife of about 26 years. Deputies found her vehicle – with blood inside – at 11:20 p.m. at her workplace in DuPont, where, according to her Facebook page, she worked at Pier 1 Import’s distribution center.
Deputies provided other agencies with a photo of Tony Barrett and the license plate of his vehicle. A University of Washington Tacoma security officer spotted Tony Barrett’s truck in downtown Tacoma about 3 a.m. and followed it until Tacoma police officers caught up.
Barrett refused to pull over, prompting a 100 mph pursuit that went over the westbound Tacoma Narrows Bridge and ended near Burnham Drive on state Route 16 after police threw down spikes to pop his tires.
“He came out with a crowbar and tried to fight officers and the K-9,” Troyer said.
During the struggle, he received several bites from the police dog and was taken to the hospital after being arrested.
There was no word on a possible motive, but the couple apparently had a tumultuous relationship. She left her husband early last year but still had contact with him, her Facebook page indicates.
Tony Barrett pleaded guilty to third-degree assault against his wife in 2008. Court records indicate he attacked his wife after they returned home from a club, holding a pillow over her face until she almost suffocated. One of their sons kicked in the bedroom door to save his mother.
Tony Barrett served one day in jail and two years of supervision from 2008 to February 2010, according to state Department of Corrections spokeswoman Judi Feliciano. A judge ordered him to have no “hostile contact” with Sara Barrett for five years. The order expired Feb. 25.
Sara Barrett filed for two protection orders against her husband in 2009 and 2012, but failed to show up for court, so they were denied, records show.
In a petition to keep Tony Barrett away from herself and her youngest son, Sara Barrett described her husband in January 2012 as “manipulative and intimidating” and said he followed her to her car after work and forced her into his vehicle at knifepoint so they could talk.
He allegedly made her promise to come home after work, which she did because she feared for the safety of their sons.
“He has said that he will never let me go,” Sara Barrett wrote. “I am afraid for my life when it comes to him.”
She claimed he beat her, once hitting her in the head so hard it damaged her hearing, and sometimes attacked their boys. Tony Barrett tried to commit suicide when his wife tried to leave him, Sara Barrett said in court papers.
One of the couple’s sons, Tyler Barrett, expressed animosity toward his father on his Facebook page Thursday. He also wrote: “Only good people die in this world remember that … sorry i wasn’t their (sic) for you this time to save you.”
Tony Barrett works as a delivery driver for Tacoma Public Schools’ purchasing department, delivering food, school and office supplies to various campuses. He began working there in July 2001 and was on a two-week vacation, district spokesman Dan Voelpel said.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653
Staff reporter Alexis Krell contributed to this report.