Special Reports

Lakewood tie interests police

If suspected serial rapist Terapon Dang Adhahn was in Lakewood the day Adre’anna Jackson vanished, he wasn’t working.

The owner of the tow company where Adhahn was employed in December 2005 says a blast of winter weather grounded the business on Dec. 2, the day 10-year-old Jackson disappeared.

Adhahn, known as “T,” didn’t do any tows, and no one else did, either.

Ken Spruell, former boss of now-defunct McChord Towing, remembers distinctly, because friends joshed him about it. They assumed business must have boomed during those snowy days of early December, when cars skidded off slick roads. They were wrong.

“We did not run,” Spruell said Thursday. “We didn’t do any tows. It was all police tows. … Somebody said, ‘I bet you’re making all kinds of money because of this snow.’ No. Nobody was stupid enough to go out.”

Adhahn, 42, has been charged with multiple counts of rape in Pierce County Superior Court. The charges involve two underage victims.

Prosecutors say they will file aggravated murder charges against Adhahn today in the July 4 abduction and subsequent slaying of 12-year-old Zina Linnik.

Lakewood police say Adhahn also is a person of interest in the disappearance and death of Jackson, whose remains were found April 4, 2006, in a stand of blackberries less than two miles from her home.

Tacoma police haven’t gone as far in their pronouncements. They say they are looking at possible links between Adhahn and other cases of missing and slain children, including Jackson.

Lakewood police, not waiting for Tacoma, took their investigation a step further Wednesday, papering Lakewood with fliers that included Adhahn’s photo and asking residents if the man in the picture had been seen in the area.

According to police spokesman Dave Guttu, several residents said they had, though none recalled seeing Adhahn the day Jackson vanished.

Spruell said Lakewood police recently asked him about Adhahn’s tenure at McChord Towing, and walked away with daily records from the business.

Detectives seeking to build a timetable of Adhahn’s movements at the time of Jackson’s disappearance were pleased with the find, Spruell said. Adhahn was a model employee and a meticulous record-keeper who wrote down every stop.

“They wanted a timetable,” Spruell said of the detectives. “They were hot for that stuff. Oh, God, they were hot for that.”

Adhahn started working for McChord Towing in June 2005, and he was still on the payroll Dec. 2, Spruell said. He was still with the company Dec. 27, 2005, when a Washington State Patrol trooper ticketed him on Highway 512 for not wearing a seat belt.

A copy of that ticket, obtained from Pierce County District Court, shows Adhahn was driving one of the yellow trucks owned by McChord Towing.

Spruell said he hired Adhahn based on a recommendation from an acquaintance. Adhahn had worked for multiple towing companies in the area, and knew his business.

“He knew Pierce County quite well,” Spruell said. “He was nice as could be. People called me to tell me how courteous he was. He was in my house with my kids, had dinner with me. I’ve got a 9-year-old daughter.”

Adhahn’s previous boss was less complimentary.

Won Choi, owner of Lee’s Towing in Tacoma, fired Adhahn in spring 2005 for reasons he will not explain. Later that summer, Choi spotted Adhahn at a local gas station.

Enraged, Choi lunged at Adhahn, threatened to kill him, and then started seizing items from Adhahn’s truck, claiming that they were stolen.

The description of the incident comes from Lakewood Municipal Court records – Choi was charged with fourth-degree assault in connection with the incident. The charges were dismissed with prejudice more than a year later.

Friday, Choi would not say much about the incident or his dealings with Adhahn, though he said he had just spent two hours with FBI agents who wanted to discuss Adhahn.

“Nobody knows his inside,” Choi said. “But I seen the inside.”

Sean Robinson: 253-597-8486