Man Accused of Strangling Wife over Love Interest

Picture via Facebook.

WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. -- The body of 53-year-old Kathie Ann Baker was found at approximately 10:15 a.m. Sunday wrapped in a tarp behind a Whidbey Island residence, said Island County Sheriff's Office detective Ed Wallace.

Baker lived in the residence, off Silver Cloud Lane in Greenbank, with her husband, Robert Alan Baker, 61. The husband has been taken into custody as a suspect and is currently in jail.

Robert Baker, who goes by "Al," made his first court appearance Monday afternoon. A judge ruled that there is probable cause to hold him on $5 million bail. The deadline for prosecutors to charge him is Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

Investigation into the crime indicates that Kathie Baker's cause of death was blunt force trauma with ligature strangulation and that she has been deceased for several days, police said.

The couple has operated a restaurant, Harbor Pizzeria, since June 2011. News of the arrest caused the store's employees to close up shop early on Sunday.

"The owners were really nice, they were in love," employee Alexis Brown said.

The couple met in Alaska and moved to Whidbey Island to open the pizzeria. Neighbors had only fond things to say about Kathie.

"One time we had an incident, had some chickens," neighbor Kyle Landry said. "Their little dog accidentally killed my chickens."

He said Kathie "felt bad, paid for my chickens to get put down. She was really nice."

Robert Baker, who goes by Al, will make his first court appearance at 1 p.m. on Monday, June 11.