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

Dead Washington Extremist was to be Arrested on Child Rape Charges

By Bill Morlin on December 13, 2011 - 3:05 pm, Posted in Antigovernment

A man with an antigovernment past was going to be arrested on multiple counts of child rape and child molestation a day after he killed two women and turned his southwestern Washington home into a bullet-sprayed inferno.

Steven Douglas Stanbary had been told by his attorney to surrender on Dec. 8 to detectives with the Washougal Police Department. He would have faced multiple counts of rape of a child and child molestation, Sgt. Allen Cook told Hatewatch today.

“It was an active investigation, and he would have been arrested, booked into jail, based on probable cause to believe he had committed these crimes,” Cook said.

The Washougal police sergeant said he had not fully reviewed detectives’ reports associated with the sex crime investigation that had been reviewed by the Clark County prosecutor, but said it apparently involved only one child.

Instead of preparing to surrender, authorities now believe Stanbary, 47, shot and killed his wife of 11 years, Leona Bolton Stanbary, and her 50-year-old twin sister, Mona Daugherty, who lived in the home, early on Dec 7. Then he apparently set fire to his house and shot at police and firefighters who responded.

The following day, the badly burned remains of the two women were found in a destroyed back bedroom of the home, Cook said.

The remains now believed to be those of Stanbary – referred to by investigators as “Body A” – were found at the opposite end of the ranch-style home, near six to eight firearms, including an AK-47 assault rifle, that were believed to have been fired during the siege. Stanbary’s cause of death hasn’t been determined.

Investigators now believe Stanbary doused portions of the home, and possibly the bodies of the women he murdered, with an accelerant that quickly spread the fire, causing several explosions of ammunition, an acetylene tank and fireworks, Cook said.

“That’s our opinion at this point, based on how fast the fire spread and the reaction of a detection dog” that was brought to the scene by Port of Portland police officers, Cook said.

The fire also destroyed a separate 20-by-40-foot shop, four pickup trucks and a boat. “It looked like a raging wildfire had gone through there,’’ Cook said.

All three bodies were so badly burned that authorities initially thought on Thursday that they had the remains of only two bodies, but a forensic anthropologist and medical examiner later determined they were those of three people. The bone fragments were so thoroughly destroyed that DNA testing likely would be fruitless, but that processing will be attempted, nonetheless, Cook said.

The bodies of four dogs also were recovered from the home, but only one was intact enough for an X-ray by medical examiners that turned up bullet slugs. “We know conclusively that at least one of these dogs died from gunshots,” Cook said.

Evidence recovery teams spent more than three days processing the scene, filling two five-gallon buckets with shell casings – either fired or exploded. The buckets of casings and freshly placed roses were juxtaposed epitaphs at the scene last weekend before investigators finished their work and removed yellow crime tape.

When neighbors approached the burning home last Wednesday morning, they fled in fear of their life as bullets were fired from inside the house, presumably by Stanbary. A Washougal police officer responding to the scene rapidly retreated after a window of his cruiser was shattered by bullets that narrowly missed him.

Police officers did not fire their weapons at any point as they and firefighters stood back while gunshots and exploding bullets continued for nearly two hours. Video from a police robot and neighbors’ cell phones helped investigators make a timeline.

Stanbary, armed with a cache of firearms, assault rifles and thousands of rounds of ammunition, had threatened a similar standoff with law enforcement in December 1994 when he lived in North Idaho. Plainclothes deputies used a broken-down car ruse in that case to arrest Stanbary without violence. One of Stanbary’s heroes he frequently mentioned, associates say, was white separatist Randy Weaver, who held federal agents at bay during the 10-day Ruby Ridge siege near Naples, Idaho, in 1992.

After the 1994 encounter, Stanbary was diagnosed as suffering from delusional schizophrenia. Medical experts described him “as a ticking time bomb” who believed “the end of the world was coming and he needed to stockpile guns and ammunition,” the Vancouver Columbian reported last week.

A psychiatrist said that “it was a very reasonable deduction” that Stanbary could commit suicide or kill someone else, the newspaper reported.

But despite that history, Stanbary moved to southeastern Washington in the late 1990s. He was “completely off the radar” and had no significant encounters with police there, and they didn’t know about his past, Cook said.

His only involvement with Washougal police came just a few years ago when he contacted them to offer video taken from a surveillance camera on his home. Cook said that video description of the suspect’s vehicle ultimately helped detectives catch and arrest a serial purse-snatcher.

Investigators “strangely enough” haven’t located any suicide note or “manifesto” left behind by Stanbary, Cook said, but detectives still have to search a safety deposit box that has been located.

  • Karla

    Does it strike you as strange that the bodies are burned beyond recognition – even by DNA testing?

    Hopefully he really did die in the fire. Posing his own death might not be beyond the realm of possibility.

  • Aron

    It’s odd. Normally I abhor the practice of defaming the memory of the recently deceased.

    But in this case, I don’t feel much guilt. Or any, for that matter. Investigate his cowardly carcass for all the molestation charges that will stick.

    And plant a peace garden where his house used to be. Maybe some beauty can come from this…

    Also, while I tend to dismiss the concept of an afterlife, I hope an extra-special version of the Medieval / early-Renaissance Christian version of Hell is created for him. (Think Hieronymous Bosch’s ‘Garden of Earthly Delights,’ but roughly thirty times worse. Perhaps with ‘Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Old Oak Tree’ on a constant loop.)

    I’m done now. Sorry for the rant. 8)

  • Shadow Wolf

    I wouldn’t be surprised. I find it strange that a loon like him remained married to the same woman for 11 some years. Note that his wife’s twin sister also lived with them in WA, if domestic violence did occur, most likely either one of them could have reported it. But the article states that his only encounter with LEOs was to provide footage regarding a petty purse thief. Until child molestation allegations surfaced, that changed everything.

  • WMDKitty

    May his family (dogs included) rest in peace.

    Good riddance to him.

  • Ted

    To Shadow Wolf, I could never prove this, but given the amount of time and this man’s extremely radical views, I would suspect that there was some form of domestic abuse.

  • Aron


    That was another item that really stuck in my craw. Those dogs were just as innocent as the two women.

    A man who shoots HIS OWN DOGS out of spite is a coward.

  • kbrown225

    And the bastards murdered his dogs? Also rape and child molestation are not by-products of schizophrenia, maybe he was shizophrenic but he was also a child molester. That is independent of his schizophrenic condition.

  • Shadow Wolf

    I’m actually surprised that antigovernment extremist was married to his wife for 11 years….especially when it comes to mental illness of his catagory. Combined with the virulent antigovernment and white supremacist views that went undetected in WA for quite some time.

  • Lone Wolf

    Possibly,in the weeks ahead, there might be found, evidence of posts or a manifesto on a hate web site, generated by what is now a charred or melted home computer..Schizophrenia is no excuse for raping anyone especially an innocent child…Stanbary must have thought that his freedom was being threatened and was not going to be taken alive especially, by agents of the government..I don’t know how people with delusional schizophrenia think, but clearly Stanbary had a plan besides turning himself in and executed it well, along with his wife and his sister-in-law…No doubt, it is another case of an abusive man with extremist views that doesn’t get out much, and the others in the home, are not to talk, not to trust, and eventually, not to feel…what a tragedy..I hope that the house and property were bought and paid for and if there isn’t any next of kin, the money could be given to the little girl and her family.. the little girl could use it…if she was raped…

  • Aron

    Also, a side note: that mug shot clearly depicts a man on COMPLETE control of his mental faculties.

    It’s ok. I didn’t plan on sleeping tonight, anyway.