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Clinton woman arrested in Bellingham murder

A Clinton woman was arrested in the murder of a Bellingham woman late Thursday.

Detectives from the Bellingham Police Department arrested Kara J. Buchanan, 40, late Thursday in the murder of Kriston A. Dunya.

The arrest came after an extensive search of South Whidbey involving multiple police agencies from two counties.

Police said Dunya was found dead in her apartment of a single gun shot wound to her chest on Tuesday, July 5. Homicide investigators collected enough information to obtain a search warrant for Buchanan's house on Whidbey Island, near the Clinton ferry dock.

Police said they found "significant evidence" at the home, including the possible murder weapon.

Authorities said Buchanan left a voice mail message for one of the detectives as police were on their way to her South Whidbey home Thursday, and in the message, she allegedly confessed to the murder and said that by the time police heard the message, she would be dead.

Police rushed to her home, but she was gone. Law enforcement agencies fanned out across the South End just before 6 p.m. searching for her; the search included the Island County Sheriff's Office, the Langley Police Department and other law enforcement officials. Marked and unmarked police cars raced north and south on Highway 525, mostly south of Freeland, searching for Buchanan, and responders from Fire District 3 were stationed near Bayview as the search continued.

Police said Buchanan was eventually found her on a beach in Langley and was bleeding badly from self-inflicted cuts to her wrists.

Buchanan was taken to Whidbey General Hospital in Coupeville, and because the cuts had damaged her arteries, she was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for surgery.

Authorities said the injuries were serious but not life-threatening.

Police said they believe Buchanan may have been motivated to commit the murder in order to keep Keayn Dunya, the estranged husband of the murder victim, from losing custody of his son.

According to the Bellingham Herald, Dunya’s body was found early Tuesday by a co-worker who went to check on her after she hadn’t come to work in two days.

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