Martín Bilbao / The Olympian
A Lacey man accused of attempting to kill his ex-wife on Sunday is being held in Thurston County Jail without bond.
Chae Kyong An, 53, attended his preliminary appearance in Thurston County Superior Court on Wednesday. Prosecutors alleged he committed attempted first-degree murder, domestic violence, as well as first-degree kidnapping, assault and stalking.
Court commissioner Nathan Kortokrax set no bail after finding probable cause for the alleged crimes. Kortokrax also forbade Chae An from contacting Young An, the 42-year-old woman who was allegedly kidnapped, and certain witnesses.
The Olympian doesn’t usually name foul play victims, but the Washington State Patrol previously identified Young An during a widely publicized missing persons alert on Sunday.
Court records reveal new details about the investigation into Chae An. They include a harrowing account of Young An allegedly being beaten in her Lacey home, bound in duct tape, stabbed and nearly buried alive in the woods.
Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth McMullen has asked the court not to set bail, which effectively means he cannot be released at this time. She expressed her concerns that Chae An might commit a violent crime or interfere with the case.
“The probable cause statement exposed a truly horrific situation in which the defendant dug a grave, placed his ex-wife in that grave and told her he was going to kill her after he finally attacked and abducted her from her home. her,” McMullen said.
Chae An’s public defense attorney, Ahmed Jenkins, asked that bail be set at $150,000, saying that amount would likely be enough to keep him in jail. He added that Chae An, a veteran who served for 30 years, has no previous criminal convictions or history of failing to appear in court.
“It’s highly likely … he has service-related mental health issues that will likely end up being addressed later,” Jenkins said.
Young An did not attend the hearing in person. However, a victim’s attorney read aloud a statement from Young An before Kortokrax decided on bail.
“Please no bail,” Young An said. “I’m really scared for my life. I just want to point out that I’m so scared of him and he will kill me again if he comes out.
A sheriff’s deputy found Young An around 1 a.m. Monday at a residence on Stedman Road Southeast, south of Lacey. Deputies located Chae An later that day around 7:40 a.m. after a resident spotted her vehicle in the woods near Stedman Road.
Chae An was first taken to an area hospital where he remained under observation, The Olympian previously reported. Law enforcement incarcerated him in the Thurston County Jail on Tuesday.
A probable cause statement outlines the investigation into the alleged abduction from the perspective of law enforcement.
The dispatcher received a call from a woman later identified as Young Ann before 1 p.m. Sunday. During the call, the dispatch heard screams from Young An who was apparently “gagged”.
Call notes indicated that dispatch heard banging and struggling sounds as well as a dog barking in the background. Eventually, the statement indicates that the sounds died down until there was only silence.
Using cell tower data, the dispatcher located the origin of the call and ordered Lacey police to respond. Officers arrived at the home in the 3800 block of Southeast Rossberg Street around 1 p.m. and found an unoccupied home with the garage left open.
Officers learned that the An family resided at the home, which the statement said had a history of domestic violence.
Young and Chae An’s children arrived while the police were still at the scene. The eldest child reportedly told police she saw her father’s van in the driveway before leaving with her younger brother for shopping.
She added that she received a text from her mother around 1:07 p.m. The message reportedly said an emergency had occurred at their home. Another witness also reported receiving the same emergency alert.
Video from a neighbor’s camera allegedly showed Chae An driving her van into the garage and later driving out of the neighborhood.
At around 12:51 a.m. Monday, Young An arrived at a residence on the 9900 block of Stedman Road Southeast. Residents of the home called 911, the statement said.
A Thurston County Sheriff’s Deputy responded and found Young An hiding behind a shed. The statement says she rushed to the deputy and screamed for help.
Young An reportedly said, “My husband is trying to kill me” and “My husband is still somewhere in the woods.”
The statement notes that she was distressed and had trouble remembering exactly what happened to her. However, she alleged that her husband kidnapped her, tied her up with duct tape, drove her into the woods, stabbed her repeatedly and put her in a hole he dug with a shovel. .
At around 7:37 a.m. Monday, deputies arrested Chae An as he responded to a suspicious vehicle call. He was found in his van on the Chehalis Western Trail near Stedman Road, the statement said.
At around 1:18 p.m. Monday, law enforcement questioned Young An as she recovered at an area hospital.
She told the police that she found Chae An at her home when she returned from church. She said she sent her children away so she could discuss matters related to her divorce with Chae An, according to the statement.
During this interaction, Chae An allegedly got angry and Young An asked her to leave. She alleged that Chae An repeatedly hit her on the head and knocked her to the floor in her bedroom.
Then, Chae An allegedly taped her hands behind her back. He also allegedly taped her eyes, thighs and ankles.
Young An told police that she called 911 with her Apple Watch and sent an emergency notification to her trusted contacts when Chae An left the room for a few minutes. She said she heard a dispatcher answer, but couldn’t answer because her mouth was also covered.
Chae An allegedly dragged her into his van. Along the way, the statement says he noticed his Apple Watch, smashed it with a hammer, and pulled it off his wrist.
Young An told the police that Chae An drove her to a wooded area. At one point, he allegedly stabbed her repeatedly with a small knife in the chest.
Eventually, Chae An allegedly placed Young An in a hole he dug in the ground. She added that he placed a “heavy tree” on her. Then she said he started throwing dirt at her.
She remembered Chae An saying she was going to die, according to the statement. Young An squirmed as much as she could to avoid getting dirt on her face, she reportedly told police.
Once it got dark, Young An managed to remove some of the tape on her, including the tape covering her eyes. She allegedly saw Chae An’s van before turning to flee through the woods.
She eventually came across Stedman Road which led her to the residence where she would be found later.
In a follow-up interview on Tuesday, Young An shared more details with police. She alleged that Chae An said he would rather kill her than give her his retirement money, according to the statement.
She said she continued to be afraid of Chae An, adding that he worked in “intelligence” for the US military and was “extremely intelligent” and traveled a lot.
That day, detectives located the area where Chae An allegedly dug a hole and placed Young An. The area was 65 inches long, 30 inches wide, and 19 inches deep. They found dirt, tape, and hair consistent with Young An’s hair there.
A piece of tape at the scene even had the frame of Young An’s Apple Watch still attached.
People experiencing domestic violence in Thurston County can call SafePlace at 360-754-6300. This line is open 24 hours a day and translation services are available. The National Domestic Violence Hotline also accepts calls, chats or texts 24 hours a day at 800-799-7233.