The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Two Bodies Recovered From Ruins of Washington Extremist’s Home

By Bill Morlin on December 9, 2011 - 8:33 am, Posted in Extremist Crime

The bodies of two people and four dogs were recovered Thursday from the fire-scarred ruins of a house in southwestern Washington where gunfire and explosions broke out a day earlier. A third person remains missing, authorities confirmed.

The home in Washougal, Wash., near Portland, Ore., is that of Steven Douglas Stanbary, who has expressed antigovernment sentiments in the past, apparently including rage at the government’s handling of the landmark 1992 standoff at Ruby Ridge in northern Idaho. In 1994, Stanbary threatened to kill his wife and children and held sheriff’s deputies at bay before being arrested.

One source said Stanbary was among dozens of people who gathered at a roadblock below the Ruby Ridge mountaintop, protesting the actions of federal agents during their siege of the family of white supremacist Randy Weaver and his family. Three people died during that 10-day standoff, including a federal marshal and Weaver’s wife and son, and the incident ultimately became a launching pad for the militia movement. Stanbary later described Weaver as his hero, authorities said.

Clark County Sheriff Sgt. Kevin Allais confirmed to Hatewatch late Wednesday that federal and county investigators, who spent the day doing a forensic processing of the charred remains of the Stanbary home, had recovered two bodies. He also confirmed that a third person is still missing.

The two recovered bodies were badly burned, and the sheriff’s official said he couldn’t speculate on the identities or the genders of the dead. Those missing include Stanbury, his wife and her sister. The couple’s teenage daughter has been located, according to media reports. Allais said the bodies were found at opposite ends of the residence where fire and gunshots erupted about 8 a.m. Wednesday. Autopsies will be conducted.

“We’ve also removed other evidence, including guns,” Allais said without elaborating. When asked about the number of firearms, he paused and would only say it was a “quantity.” One large explosion that occurred during the fiery standoff apparently was caused by an acetylene tank in the home.

Allais wouldn’t comment on any current ties, if any, Stanbary may have had with antigovernment or white supremacist groups in southwestern Washington, the nearby Portland metropolitan area, or elsewhere.

After a similar standoff between Stanbary and Bonner County, Idaho, deputies was defused in 1992, authorities seized a grenade launcher, a sawed-off shotgun, six AK-47 assault rifles, almost two dozen other rifles, three handguns, several shotguns, a flak jacket and thousands of rounds of ammunition from his residence. It was not immediately clear why he wasn’t charged with federal firearms violations in that incident, which resulted in him serving 90 days in jail on a misdemeanor.

The Clark County sheriff’s supervisor wouldn’t publicly speculate on a motive behind Wednesday conflagration. “We suspect we know the reason why this occurred, but that’s not going to be released anytime soon,” Allais said.

In various media interviews, neighbors of the Stanbarys said they believe the family was experiencing financial difficulties. There also were reports that child welfare workers went sent to the home a year ago.

Thursday was the 27th anniversary of the armed standoff between another iconic white supremacist hero – Robert J. Mathews – and FBI agents on Whidbey Island, about 180 miles from Washougal. Matthews, who headed the infamous terrorist group The Order, was killed in that shootout and remains a hero to the radical right.

But authorities do not suspect a connection. “The information we have at this point would eliminate any correlation with an anniversary event,” Allais said.

  • Lone Wolf

    My mistake..David Dorr was the convicted leader of the Order II and was in the 1999 Aryan Nations Parade down in Coeur d’Alene…Just before going to prison, he made one thing very many, “Next time, I am going to do it right!” I wonder where he and his wife live now?

  • Lone Wolf

    I seem to recall seeing a photo of Mathews’ son Clint, holding a sign, during the Ruby Ridge standoff, that said “Baby Killer.” Mathews was consumed by fire on Whidbey Island, because it was believed that he might have the hardware to shoot down a commercial airliner, carrying at least 200 people. A close associate of his, told me a couple of years ago, that he didn’t have what he was suspected of having but then, why risk the lives of at least 200 innocent people. A great risk management decision, I thought and still do…an incendiary remark to some, but wise, in my opinion…I wonder if Stanbary registered his grenade launcher with the Bonner County Sheriff’s Department to avoid federal firearms charges, but then, there is probably no record of that…when Mathews, met his Maker, there were 24 well known members of “The Order” and 63 not so well known..I wonder what David Dohr is up to these days and was Stanbary one of those 63, that wasn’t so well known..Randy Weaver was more than willing to put his family at risk, based upon his war with Z.O.G..are there some areas of Boundary and Bonner County that are off limits to Child Protective Service workers? Here in Sandpoint, the heroes are the Bonner County Task Force, who genuinely represent our rich and diverse population and not the less than 1%ers, who remind me of the Hells Angels, with training wheels…

  •, Aron

    Oh no. Oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no.

    Those poor girls…

    I truly hope they’re alright. And that that bastard died in the blaze he so richly deserved.

    (And I make it a point to never wish ill will worse then a badly stubbed toe against even my worst enemies. I’ll just have to make an exception in this case.)