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Family doubts Federal Way police did enough to protect slain woman
While Chan Kim proceeds through court trials for the alleged slaying of his girlfriend, Baerbel Roznowski, her grown daughters wonder if police could have done more to protect their mother.
Roznowski, 66, sought an anti-harassment order May 1 against Kim, also known as Paul Kim, her live-in boyfriend. She thought the order was her ticket to escaping her 16-year relationship with Kim in a quick and safe manner. Instead, Roznowski was found slain in her home May 3, hours after Kim was served an anti-harassment order and told by Federal Way police he must immediately leave the residence.
“My mother trusted and had faith in obtaining this order and (her death) was the result,” Roznowski’s daughter Carola Washburn wrote in a June 20 e-mail.
Washburn and her sister travelled to Federal Way from their homes in California to attend a June 30 court hearing, where Kim’s defense team requested access to the crime scene. They also sought answers to the looming questions of why the anti-harassment order was not effective and why police left their mom home alone with Kim after he was served documents requesting he refrain from contacting her.
Things gone awry
Kim was served the temporary order by Federal Way police at 8:13 a.m. May 3 at Roznowski’s home, 2012 S.W. 353rd St. Kim told the officer he understood the order and left the household.
“(Kim) was completely compliant and prepared himself to leave the residence, and there were no concerns at that time,” Federal Way police spokeswoman Cathy Schrock said.
At 11:26 a.m. that morning, police were summoned to the home to complete a welfare check. Through a window, officers saw Kim attempting to harm himself with a knife, Schrock said. Officers forced entry into the home, retrieved the knife and secured the suspect. They then found Roznowski dead with multiple stab wounds. Attempts to revive her were unsuccessful.
“We cannot bring my mother back, or change what took place,” Washburn wrote in her e-mail. “However, our goal is that residents who file orders have procedure followed and not suffer the same tragic consequence as our mother.”
Washburn feels police should have been aware that Roznowski was at the home with Kim. Police should have been present at the home until Kim left, she said.
Procedure was followed:
Federal Way police followed state law when the order was served to Kim, Schrock said. The law requires that a peace officer, in this case Federal Way police, serve the order, which is obtained through the county, and notify the recipient of an upcoming court date. It does not require an officer to be on the premises until the suspect vacates.
“Our policy strictly covers that it is our duty to serve the order,” Schrock said.
The anti-harassment order was entered into police records. Kim was told by the officer to leave Roznowski’s home and was given a court date of May 14 to appear before a judge to explain himself. Kim appeared to understand what was expected of him, reports said.
Generally, anti-harassment orders can be useful if the person served takes them seriously.
“It’s designed to provide people a speedy way to quit having contact with someone,” Schrock said.
Criminal penalties apply to those who violate an anti-harassment order. Protection for the person seeking the order comes in the form of knowing that the suspect will face legal action if the order is ignored, Schrock said.
“Your protection comes with having the order, having it served,” she said.
Contact Jacinda Howard: firstname.lastname@example.org or (253) 925-5565.
Check it out:
Protection, no-contact, restraining and anti-harassment orders are granted through the King County court system. To learn more about these orders, visit the Washington State Legislature Web site at www.leg.wa.gov/legislature and read RCW Title 10 and Title 26.
Victim’s daughters question procedure in serving an anti-harassment order