Crime

One-time Enumclaw woman vanished 30 years ago. Now her husband faces murder charge

Donna Mae Jokumsen, last seen July 5, 1987, when she was 22.
Donna Mae Jokumsen, last seen July 5, 1987, when she was 22.

Donna Mae Jokumsen was a 22-year-old mother of two when she disappeared in Chandler, Arizona, more than 30 years ago.

She’d phoned her father to tell him she was leaving her abusive husband and driving to Enumclaw with her young sons, according to police.

Jokumsen, who grew up in Enumclaw, has long been presumed dead. Police in the Phoenix suburb found no evidence she was alive after July 5, 1987, though her remains have never been found.

Three decades later, her husband, Kevin Jokumsen, was indicted in Arizona on a second-degree-murder charge and an extraditable warrant was issued for his arrest.

On Aug. 31, Jokumsen, now a 53-year-old homeless man with a lengthy criminal history, was arrested in an industrial area of Kent by an Auburn police detective who recognized him from earlier investigations, according to court records filed in Arizona and King County Superior Court.

Jokumsen remains jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail in King County as he awaits extradition proceedings to return him to Arizona to face the murder charge, jail and court records show.

It wasn’t immediately clear what evidence led police to seek an indictment against Jokumsen for second-degree murder.

A Facebook page created by Donna Jokumsen’s mother and sisters indicate a Chandler police detective reopened the case into her disappearance in 2016.

According to a probable-cause statement from Chandler police, Donna Jokumsen’s mother reported her missing on July 11, 1987, worried for her daughter’s safety after Donna Jokumsen and her children failed to arrive in Enumclaw.

She told police that before the couple moved to Arizona, Kevin Jokumsen had a history of attacking his wife and had tried to kill her before, incidents reported to Enumclaw police in 1986, the statement says.

The day before Donna Jokumsen disappeared, she’d arrived at work at a restaurant in Mesa, Arizona with bruises and a split lip, the statement said. She told a co-worker that her husband had beaten her and she planned to leave him, according to the statement.

However, she said she was waiting for him to return home and give her money so she could rent a U-Haul trailer to move herself and her sons back to Washington, says the statement.

Officers who searched Jokumsen’s house found nothing suspicious. He told officers his wife had left on the afternoon of July 5, 1987, in a blue Chevrolet Chevelle, but the next morning, the car — which had been cleaned — was parked outside their house, the statement says.

“Kevin showed no emotion when speaking with officers and did not appear worried,” says the statement, which notes Jokumsen knew his wife was leaving him but kept putting off giving her money, the title to one of their cars and their sons’ birth certificates.

He told officers she had planned to return to Washington only for the summer because she couldn’t bear the Arizona heat, the statement says.

Jokumsen, who at one time aspired to become a police officer, was voluntarily interviewed by detectives and said he grew up in Enumclaw, dated his wife through high school and married in 1985, according to the statement.

She apparently started divorce proceedings in summer 1986, but they got back together that fall and moved to Arizona in early 1987 for a fresh start, the statement says.

Jokumsen denied abusing or killing his wife.

The statement notes he couldn’t explain how the Chevelle had been returned to his house and acknowledged it was out of character for his wife not to make child-care arrangements for their boys, the statement says.

Police believe Jokumsen killed his wife inside their home, according to the statement. It does not indicate what detectives think happened to her body.

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