Dads Against the Divorce Industry

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Woman accused of killing husband

Daniel Leenders of Kent was stabbed to death in his bedroom 2 years ago

Friday, October 18, 2002


Daniel Leenders, a father of two and a nightshift Boeing Co. worker, was stabbed to death in his darkened bedroom in the middle of a spring day.

Drawers in his house were flung open. His wallet lay at the foot of the bed, not far from a butcher knife. The back sliding-glass door was left ajar.

Now, more than two years later, Kent police say they know who attacked the 47-year-old man: his wife, who they say carefully staged the house to make the slaying look like the work of a vicious intruder.

King County prosecutors charged Laurie Leenders with first-degree murder late yesterday. Police arrested the 45-year-old Kent woman last night. She was being held at the Regional Justice Center; bail was set at $500,000.

The woman has denied having anything to do with her husband's death. She is expected to answer the charge in Superior Court in coming weeks.

The woman called 911 on May 18, 2000, saying she came home from the grocery store to find her husband covered in blood. She told the emergency operator that someone must have broken in because doors and drawers were open.

"I didn't touch him; I just called his name," the woman said, according to court documents. "He didn't answer."

The man's body was found in his bed, the room's windows covered with tarps so he could catch some sleep during the day. He had been stabbed 47 times.

Ever since, police have gathered bits of circumstantial evidence that they say add up to showing the man's wife killed him, from her inconsistent statements to a drop of her blood on the bathroom faucet.

"It's like a mosaic -- the more you step back and take a look at the picture, the clearer it becomes," said deputy prosecutor Tim Bradshaw. "Everything continues to point to Mrs. Leenders."

Police contend that some things the woman told police didn't fit with her story or, in some instances, even make sense, according to court documents:

  • That she'd never seen the knife before, even though her children later confirmed it was one frequently used in the family's kitchen.

  • That her husband was covered in blood from the chest up, even though police found him under blankets pulled up to his chin.

  • That she cut her thumb and bled in the bathroom the day before while showing off a Ginsu knife for her husband, even though police didn't find that kind of knife in the house.

    Bradshaw said it's possible the woman cut herself during the attack, leaving the single drop of blood found in an otherwise spotless bathroom, according to court documents.

    Detective Geary Murray also noted in court documents that there was no sign of an intruder -- there was nothing missing, no blood tracked outside and no fingerprints that didn't belong.

    Laurie Leenders acknowledged to police that she'd menaced her husband once before -- he awakened in bed to find her standing over him and wielding a toilet-tank lid, according to court documents. She sought psychiatric help and began taking anti-anxiety medication shortly thereafter.

    Police say they learned that the couple's marriage was troubled and that there had been talk of divorce. Daniel Leenders had vowed to continue living in the family house, though his wife said she wanted him out, according to court papers.

    Later, the woman allegedly explained her husband's death to different people in various ways, claiming that he had a heart attack or that he was killed in a car accident. Police say that within weeks, the woman's sister-in-law heard her angrily complaining that her husband had canceled his life-insurance policy.

    P-I reporter Tracy Johnson can be reached at 206-467-5942 or

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