Stanley Guidroz returned to Pierce County on Wednesday after more than three decades away to plead not guilty to killing his 3-year-old son.
Guidroz told police he’d taken his son, Wallace, fishing at Point Defiance Park and lost track of him while chatting with another man near the duck pond. Search teams combed the park but never found any sign of the boy.
Wednesday’s plea was entered on behalf of the 57-year-old man, who was charged last year with first-degree manslaughter for the Jan. 10, 1983, disappearance of his son.
Superior Court Commissioner Meagan Foley set bail at $500,000.
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“Bail is almost an academic exercise,” deputy prosecutor Steve Penner said. “No matter what bail the court sets, it really doesn’t matter.”
That’s because Guidroz was sentenced in Louisiana to life in prison for the 2011 slaying of his wife. The victim in the Louisiana case was not Wallace’s mother, who also is dead.
In 2011, former Tacoma police cold case detective Gene Miller reopened the investigation into Wallace Guidroz’s death and flew to Louisiana to interview Guidroz in prison.
Although Guidroz was a suspect in the days after his son went missing, in part because of inconsistencies in his story, police couldn’t prove he’d killed the boy so the case went inactive.
When Miller talked to Guidroz in 2011, the man allegedly admitted to killing his son inside their Fife apartment.
Guidroz said the boy was acting fussy in his high chair and Guidroz backhanded him, according to charging papers. Wallace fell to the floor, hit his head and died, Guidroz contended.
The revelation sparked a search in 2011 with cadaver dogs for Wallace’s remains along Tacoma’s waterfront, but they were never found.
Forensic anthropologists believe Wallace’s remains are unlikely to be found because of the soil, moisture and the boy’s age.
Guidroz left Washington the year after his son’s death and returned to Louisiana, where he was originally from, records show.
He stood trial in 2012 in the death of his wife, Pepettra Guidroz, 47, who was stabbed multiple times as the two argued inside a car parked behind a fast-food restaurant in Houma, Louisianna, where they were living.
He then allegedly drove his wife’s car several hours and more than 100 miles before confessing and surrendering to police.