Nearly one month after Baerbel Roznowski, 66, was slain in her home May 3, her friends and co-workers gathered to remember her as more than a domestic dispute victim.
“She radiated out to everyone,” friend Karin Woodbury said. “She was a person who radiated goodness.”
On May 31, the small group held a vigil for Roznowski at her home, 2012 S.W. 353rd St. They stood in the driveway sharing stories about their friend. Bundles of flowers and a scented candle with a photo of Roznowski and longtime friend Inge Grayson fastened to its side were visible. Behind them, partially covered by an overgrown rhododendron bush, a reminder of the crime — wide, red tape — could be seen draped across the front door.
The friends and co-workers remembered Roznowski as a kind, gentle woman who stayed true to her German heritage, but struggled to free herself from a 16-year relationship with her live-in boyfriend, Chan Kim, also referred to as Paul Kim. Kim, 68, has been charged with first-degree murder with a deadly weapon in the stabbing of Roznowski.
Fond memories of laughing and sharing cake were plentiful at the vigil. Grayson remembered when she immigrated to the United States from Germany, and met Roznowski in Walla Walla in 1963. The town was small and the German population found comfort in one another.
The friends frequently visited each other as, throughout the years, their husbands’ commitments to the armed forces took them across the United States.
“We were always together,” Grayson said. “We were never really apart.”
Anne Marie Warren remembered Roznowski as a woman with a giving heart and loving touch. She had a way of making people feel welcome, Warren said.
Co-workers at UPS remembered Roznowski as a woman who laughed often, and as a person to turn to for advice.
“She was a joy to be around,” Norma Kozma said.
But with the good memories came feelings of hurt and anger.
Roznowski and her husband divorced. She moved to Federal Way in the early 1980s and met Paul Kim at a local restaurant, friends said. Roznowski’s relationship with Kim was one her friends worried over.
“He was very obsessive with her,” Warren said.
The couple dated, but argued. Police responded to verbal domestic dispute calls at the home in 2006, and again in April 2008. No injuries were reported in either incident.
“She got trapped in a relationship she couldn’t get out of,” friend James Grayson said.
On May 1, Roznowski sought an anti-harassment order against Kim. Police served the order at 8:13 a.m. May 3 at Roznowski’s home.
“(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 10:30 a.m. May 3, Inge Grayson received an e-mail from Roznowski requesting help, Grayson said. At 11:26 a.m., police returned to the home to complete a welfare check after being informed by a friend of Kim’s that the man seemed despondent and possibly suicidal. Through a window, officers saw Kim attempting to harm himself with a knife, Schrock said.
“They saw him with a knife and he was cutting his wrist at that time,” she 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.
“It’s so sad, honest to God, a life like that,” Warren said.
Kim was transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He was released about two weeks later and booked into the King County jail, said Ian Goodhew, King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office Deputy Chief of Staff. Kim’s arraignment date, most recently set for June 2, has been rescheduled twice, he said.
Kim requires an interpreter for the arraignment, but one was only available by telephone Monday, Goodhew said. Kim did not appear to understand what was happening and the arraignment was rescheduled for the next day, he said.
Contact Jacinda Howard: email@example.com or (253) 925-5565.