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MURDER SUSPECT TAKES HIS OWN LIFE

Posted: August 11, 2014 1:18:10 PM PDT

(Bellingham, Washington)  Bellingham Police have been actively investigating a homicide that occurred early Sunday morning August 3rd, 2014 in the 600 blk of 12th Street.  The victim is 59 year old Abigail D. Gulotta who rents a downstairs apartment in that block.  Police were called to the apartment at 11:09 AM on August 3rd, by a co-worker checking on her as she did not show up for work at the Blessings Spa Salon in the Fairhaven District of Bellingham.  The Medical Examiner has ruled the death a homicide. The cause of injury is assault causing death by another person.

On the evening of the 3rd detectives had gathered a significant amount of information from the neighborhood and businesses in the Fairhaven District.  It was learned that the victim was seen with several Coast Guard personnel late Saturday the 2nd into the early hours of the 3rd.  Detectives had been given the description of a person that was last seen with Abigail after midnight that matched a Coastguardsman on the 378 foot Coast Guard Cutter Sherman that was docked in Fairhaven.  However, detectives were told by him that he had not been off the ship.  During Monday the 4th and Tuesday the 5th detectives developed more information that led them to believe that the individual that supposedly had not gotten off the ship was indeed involved in some way with Abigail Gulotta.  By this time in the investigation the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service had agents in Bellingham actively assisting Bellingham Police Detectives.  On Wednesday August 6th, the Coastguardsman that had become a person of interest in the case, Michael G. Arnold 33, was brought to the Bellingham Police Department for questioning by the Coast Guard Investigative Service and Bellingham Police Detectives.  After several hours of questioning detectives did not have sufficient evidence to arrest Arnold, mainly due to forensic evidence that could not be processed in time.  However, his statements to detectives had made him a stronger suspect.  He was released and transported to the USGC Base in Seattle.  Shortly after arriving in Seattle in the early morning of August 7th we were notified that he had drained his bank account and disappeared from the Coast Guard Base.  The Coast Guard immediately put out a warrant for AWOL on Arnold and requested the U.S. Marshall Service assist them in locating him.

On Saturday August 9th, Bellingham Police received information that Arnold may be in Show Low, Arizona at a family owned cabin.  Police were also told Arnold had confessed his involvement in the murder of Abigail Gulotta in Bellingham and was intending to kill himself.  U.S. Marshalls went to the cabin and found Arnold dead.  The lead Bellingham Detective was sent to Arizona to assist in obtaining search warrants and retrieving evidence. 

The Bellingham Police Department thanks the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service and the U.S. Marshalls Service for their extraordinary cooperation and assistance in this case.

 

 

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Media Contact: Bellingham Police Lieutenant Rick Sucee (360) 778-8444

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