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A man accused of beheading his girlfriend with a samurai sword in a gun-filled survivalist bunker in northwest Washington last year has been found dead in California.
A body found in a river in Yuba City, California on April 7 has been identified as Jacob Gonzales, the 26-year-old suspect in the murder of Katherine Cunningham, 26. She had been found dead last March on Camano Island, Washington, the Island County Sheriff's Office said on Tuesday.
“Katherine was found on the property of the rural Camano Island home she shared with the suspect,” the sheriff’s office wrote, adding that a subsequent investigation revealed that she had likely been murdered around Valentine’s Day. At that point, Gonzales fled and became a fugitive. Cunningham’s car was found by the California Highway Patrol a few days after her killing disabled and abandoned on an interstate.
Her body was found by some men who came across the bunker. One of them spotted a sleeping bag wrapped in a tarp. Another pulled back the tarp to reveal the body of Cunningham, whose head was missing.
After Cunningham's body was discovered, detectives found a samurai sword "wrapped in a blanket that appeared to match the type of weapon that was used to inflict the injuries on Katherine.”
Testing found both her and Gonzales’ DNA on the blade, according to investigators.
Authorities found two Soviet-era Mosin Nagant rifles, a .22-caliber rifle, and a pump-action shotgun, all of them loaded, inside the bunker, which has been described as some kind of survivalist hideout. Gonzales had been storing items at the bunker for about three years before Cunningham's murder. They lived in a trailer nearby.
Tattoos on the body found in the river helped authorities identify it as Gonzales. It’s not clear how he died.
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