One of Tacoma’s enduring mysteries — what happened to 3-year-old Wallace Guidroz? — might finally have been solved.
Pierce County prosecutors on Tuesday charged the boy’s father, Stanley Guidroz, with killing his son. They allege in court documents that Stanley Guidroz in 2011 and again last year admitted killing Wallace more than 31 years ago and concocting a story about the boy being abducted.
They’ve charged Stanley Guidroz with first-degree manslaughter. A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Guidroz, who currently is serving life in prison in Louisiana for the 2011 killing of his wife. The victim in the Louisiana case was not Wallace’s mother.
“This is another success for the Cold Case Unit,” Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said in a statement Tuesday. “Justice matters, no matter how long it takes.”
Stanley Guidroz, 57, reported his son missing on Jan. 10, 1983. He told police he’d taken the boy fishing at Point Defiance Park and that he’d lost track of him while going for a walk with another man near the duck pond. Authorities mobilized a number of search teams that combed the park for days, but no sign of Wallace ever was found.
Police had their suspicions about Stanley Guidroz, but they could never pin the blame on him and the case went inactive.
In 2011, detective Gene Miller, who investigates cold cases for the Tacoma Police Department, re-opened the investigation. Among other things, Miller flew to Louisiana to speak to Guidroz in prison, court records show.
Guidroz allegedly admitted to Miller that he killed Wallace inside his apartment in Fife.
Stanley Guidroz told Miller that Wallace was in a high chair acting fussy. Guidroz said he “lost it” and struck the boy with a backhanded blow, court records show. Wallace fell to the floor, hit his head and died, Guidroz told Miller.
“He then loaded the body into his car and drove to the Tacoma waterfront where he buried Wallace in a shallow grave before calling police and reporting him missing,” court records show.
That information sparked a search for Wallace’s remains using cadaver dogs and ground-penetrating radar in June 2011. Detectives also dug holes in an area identified by Guidroz along Ruston Way but found no sign of the boy's remains.
Miller consulted with a forensic anthropologist about whether the boy’s remains could be found at all. The anthropologist said it is unlikely, based on the type of soil, ground conditions, moisture and the boy's age.
In 2013, Miller interviewed Guidroz again. He allegedly recanted his previous confession but later admitted he’d killed the boy as he first told Miller, court records show.