William Grisso’s story didn’t add up to investigators.
He reported his live-in girlfriend missing June 30 but lied about where he’d been that day. Then detectives noticed blood on his shoes and in his car.
On Thursday, Pierce County prosecutors charged Grisso, 41, with first-degree murder in the death of Nancy Gardner-Edwards, 45. Sheriff’s detectives believe Grisso fatally shot his girlfriend and dumped her body in Mason County.
A not guilty plea was entered on Grisso’s behalf during his arraignment in Superior Court. Court Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered him jailed in lieu of $1 million bail.
An autopsy to determine how Gardner-Edwards died is scheduled for Friday.
Grisso and Gardner-Edwards met online and she moved from Texas to Lakebay in May to be with him, her friends said. She announced their engagement on Facebook earlier this year.
When Grisso reported her missing he told investigators he’d returned from running errands that afternoon and found her gone. He said her cell phone, wallet and keys were still in the house but she’d taken her pistol, according to charging papers.
When a deputy asked Grisso about the drops of blood on his shoes, he said he’d kicked a cat the week before as it tried to sneak into his home. Investigators then noticed blood on Grisso’s car and found Gardner-Edwards’ pistol in the console of his vehicle.
Detectives analyzed the victim’s cell phone and found three photos of flowers taken the day she was reported missing. They used coordinates from the phone to track the flowers to Belfair, where they discovered Gardner-Edwards’ body.
"Grisso had no explanation for how Gardner’s phone could have taken those pictures in Belfair as he had told officers it had been at his home since he returned from his errands," court records show.
Neighbors reported hearing the couple fight just before Gardner-Edwards went missing. They said Grisso ordered her to leave the house and she refused.
The victim’s friends said they were suspicious of Grisso because he was taking down missing persons posters they were tacking up around the region as they searched for Gardner-Edwards over the last few weeks.
Court documents indicate Grisso was dating at least one other woman in addition to Gardner-Edwards and had recently filed for divorce from his wife of three years.
Grisso’s wife was granted a temporary restraining order last week after she said he has wild mood swings, carries a gun and threatened her in the past.
Holly Shaneyfelt, who grew up with Gardner-Edwards, described her friend as bubbly, kind and a rabid Pittsburg Steelers fan.
"She was the sweetest girl in the world. She didn’t have a mean bone in her body," Shaneyfelt said. "She had such a good heart. She didn’t deserve this at all."