Suspect found, booked on murder charge in case of missing Lacey woman

OLYMPIA, Wash. – James Stidd is behind bars in Thurston County after troopers arrested him in eastern Washington early Thursday morning.

Police said they can link Stidd to the disappearance of 60-year-old Gail Doyle, a grandmother from Lacey. Nobody has seen or heard from Doyle for a week.

Stidd is being held on several charges, including second-degree murder. Investigators said Stidd is not cooperating with police.

Thurston County sheriff’s deputies said Stidd, reportedly a longtime acquaintance of Doyle, was the last person to see Doyle while celebrating his birthday at a local bar June 2. She wasn't seen after that night.

Investigators also said they found evidence inside Stidd’s house linking him to Doyle’s disappearance, but they have no idea where she is.

“I didn’t know my uncle was involved until last night,” said Franchesca Stannard, who added that she is Stidd’s niece.

Both Stannard and Cecilia Brown said they are related to Stidd.

Police said both Stidd and Doyle were last seen arguing at the Boulevard Tavern in Olympia last Thursday night, June 2. Doyle told police previously that they he and Doyle had continued arguing while driving from the tavern and that she asked to be let out of his car. He said he stopped and let her out of the car near the Aztec Lanes bowling alley and hasn't seen her since.

Both of Stidd’s relatives told Q13 News they worry he could have done something terrible.

“From past history, he would always have at least one weapon in his vehicle, one on his person, and God knows, how many anywhere else,” said Brown.

Stannard added, “He’s said that, ‘I can make someone disappear and you would never know. I can hide bodies in trunks and nobody would figure it out.’ It’s scary things.”

Police searched Stidd’s Olympia home on Wednesday night and allegedly found evidence against him.

“The evidence that we found at his residence strongly suggests that he’s responsible for her disappearance,” said Sgt. Lynn Carter with the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

A Washington State Patrol trooper spotted Stidd's car traveling along I-90 near Ritzville on Wednesday. Police brought him back to Thurston County Thursday morning.

Police said Stidd isn’t providing detectives with any information about Doyle's whereabouts during their investigation.

“I’m praying for the families, the Doyles,” said Stannard. “I’m also praying for my family that we can say OK this is wrong and whatever he did he needs to stand for.”

Stidd is no stranger to law enforcement, having multiple convictions for assault.

Stidd was booked into the Thurston County Jail on second-degree murder and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. He could face a judge as early as Friday.