San Juan County Superior Court Judge Kathryn Loring approved a motion for finding probable cause that Eric Kulp committed second-degree murder of his wife Abigail Finney November 22-23, 2017. The 44-year-old Shaw Island man's preliminary hearing is postponed because he is being treated in Harbor View Medical Center in Seattle. The hospital is ordered to inform the county Sheriff's Office 24-hours prior to Kulp's release from medical care.
According to court records, Kulp inflicted life-threatening stab wounds to his abdomen during a standoff with a team of law enforcement officers in Concrete on April 13. As of April 14, he was in critical but stable condition. He was heavily sedated due to his wounds and because he would become combative whenever he would awake. He couldn't speak due to a tracheotomy. Since he couldn't be taken into custody, he was "unarrested" when San Juan County law enforcement left the hospital April 14. He was scheduled for surgery on April 15, 2018.
Certification for Determination of Probable Cause written by county Detective Lach Buchanan on April 11 states:
There is probable cause to believe that Eric A. Kulp, 44, committed the crime of murder 2nd degree within San Juan County.
This belief is predicated on the following facts and circumstances:
On November 29, 2017, Abigail Finney's family called San Juan County Sheriff's Office (SJCSO) dispatch and requested a welfare check of Finney, who resided with her husband at 661 Blind Bay Road Shaw Island. Finney was scheduled to join her family for Thanksgiving on November 23 but did not appear.
Family members received several text messages after the missed holiday dinner from Finney's phone, however, they were skeptical that Finney had sent them due to the content and the fact that she normally had daily contact with her mother which abruptly ended after November 22, 2017.
SJCSO sent Special Deputy Jon Shannon to check on Finney at the residence on November 29, 2017. Finney's husband, Eric Kulp AKA Eric Tubbs, was home and told Shannon she had gone to an unknown rehab facility. He was unconcerned with her whereabouts.
On January 22, 2018, Finney's family requested an additional welfare check due to the continued lack of contact. Deputy Ray Harvey contacted Shannon and learned Finney's family had reported a history of domestic violence incidents between Finney and Kulp, none of which were reported to law enforcement.
On January 23, 2018, Deputy Harvey and Sgt. Herb Crowe went to the Blind Bay property. They met Finney's brother at the property who told them that Kulp had threatened to harm Finney in the past. The brother also reported that Kulp recently told him that he had not heard from his wife. Deputies walked through the house but found no one home.
On March 21, 2018, Detective Buchanan spoke with Kulp's step-father, who resides in Arizona. He told the detective that he was speaking with Finney on November 22, 2017 when their conversation was cut short. He heard Finney arguing with someone and the phone went dead. He has not heard from her since. They routinely talked four to five times per day.
On March 23, 2018, Detective Buchanan spoke with the owner of the property where Kulp and Finney resided. She told me that Kulp sent her a text message on March 13, 2018 stating that he had a recent conversation with Finney and she was doing well.
On March 27, 2018, Detective Buchanan spoke with Kulp's most recent known employer, Rosario Assisted Living in Anacortes. The administrator showed him a text message from Kulp's phone from November 23, 2017 at 12:13 p.m. in which he stated his wife killed herself earlier in the day.
On April 5, 2018, SJSCO executed a search warrant at 661 Blind Bay Road, Shaw Island. Deputies located a body in a vehicle registered to Kulp. An autopsy on April 6, 2018 confirmed the remains were those of Abigail Finney.
Based on the preceding information there is probable cause to believe that Eric Kulp committed the crime of murder in the second degree.
Help is available for anyone suffering from domestic violence.
The 24-hour Crisis Lines in San Juan County are:
San Juan Island 360.378.2345
Orcas Island 360.376.1234
Lopez Island 360.468.4567
Visit SAFE San Juans website at safesj.org/ for more information.