Authorities investigate accused Lacey man's interest in Olympia cold case

Staff writerJuly 25, 2013 

Katrina Nash in 1996.

A Lacey man accused of killing his 3-year-old son during a bizarre trek to southwestern Montana July 8 has told authorities there that he had been researching the unsolved death of Katrina Nash, a 15-year-old Timberline High School student whose skeletal remains were found in Olympia’s Watershed Park in 2005, court papers state.

Nash went missing from an exam room at Providence St. Peter Hospital on June 18, 1996. When her remains were found in 2005, investigators were unable to determine her cause of death, or whether she died of a homicide.

“It’s an unsolved case for us,” Olympia Police Lt. Jim Costa said Wednesday of Nash’s death.

The disclosure that Jeremy Cramer, 38, was talking about Nash after his arrest on suspicion of killing his own toddler son in Montana has prompted Lacey police to obtain a search warrant for Cramer’s computers in his Ruddell Road home. Lacey police obtained the search warrant at the behest of investigators in Montana, according to the search warrant affidavit filed July 11 in Thurston County Superior Court.

Cramer is charged with deliberate homicide in Montana in connection with his 3-year-old son’s death there.

Costa, who was in charge of the investigation into Nash’s disappearance from the hospital in 1996, said Wednesday he was aware of Montana investigators’ warrant request to search Cramer’s computers. Costa was emphatic that he has no reason to believe that Cramer was in the Thurston County area when Nash went missing, or that he had anything to do with her death.

Costa said it is his understanding that Cramer was talking about investigating Nash’s disappearance because of possible ongoing “delusional issues,” and because he was a member of the same Lacey church where Nash was a member before she disappeared. He said he told Lacey police that the information Cramer had about Nash’s disappearance “is nothing you can’t get off the Internet.”

John Barnes, communications director for the Montana Department of Justice, did not return phone calls on Thursday. The Montana Department of Justice is in charge of Cramer’s murder investigation. The search warrant affidavit states that Montana investigators believe Cramer’s investigation of Nash’s disappearance might also shed light on a motive in his son’s homicide.

“I believe the described computer tower has been used in connection with, is evidence of, or tends to show evidence of homicide,” reads the Montana detective’s search warrant affidavit.

Nash was admitted to Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia in 1996 because of a psychiatric crisis. After her skeletal remains were found in Watershed Park in 2005, a forensic anthropologist examined her bones and was unable to determine a cause of death. Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock, who also worked the case, has said the anthropologist determined it is unlikely Nash was shot, stabbed, or struck with a blunt object. But that doesn’t mean she wasn’t a homicide victim, Warnock said. Her official cause of death is undetermined.

Costa said that he advised Lacey police that as long as they are already investigating Cramer, they might as well look at his computer to see if there is any information about why he was investigating Nash’s disappearance on his own.

“As long as you’re looking at this guy, nothing ventured, nothing gained,” Costa said. “I don’t suspect that anything’s going to come out of it.”

Costa said that Nash was a high-achiever, in school and in her church. “She was an A student, she excelled at everything she did,” Costa said.

The search warrant affidavit states that in Cramer’s conversations with police in Montana he “talked about his research of Nash, the homicide investigation, religious cleansing of his soul, Mormon beliefs/teaching and the names of two Mormon members who are associated with the same Mormon church Katrina Nash was associated with.”

Cramer was arrested in Anaconda, Mont., the night of July 8 when he was washing blood off his clothes in a gas station. His wife had reported him and their 3-year-old son, Brody, missing from their Lacey home that morning.

Brody Cramer’s beaten and stabbed body was found in a field outside of Anaconda the morning of July 9.

Kramer’s wife has told investigators that her husband had been taking Adderall before leaving Lacey with their son and “was acting very strange.” According to court records filed in connection with Cramer’s murder charge, Kramer’s brother Jon has told police that his brother was a former methamphetamine addict who had been “doctor shopping” for a physician who would provide him with Adderall.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 jpawloski@theolympian.com

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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