‘America’s Most Wanted’ looks at South End murder

James Huden -
James Huden
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Law enforcement officials are calling in the big guns to help solve the 2003 murder of Russell Douglas.

Former South Whidbey resident James E. Huden has been charged with killing Douglas, but investigators have not been able to locate Huden. That’s why they turned to the television show “America’s Most Wanted” to help find Huden and solve the case.

The Island County Sheriff Office hopes that the popular crime show will help bring this case to closure.

“We believe Jim Huden has left the country, which is why we turned to America’s Most Wanted,” Cmdr. Mike Beech said.

On the television show, real crimes are dramatically recreated with an appeal for viewers with information on the crime and the perpetrators to call the show and the authorities.

The crime-solving television show claims it has brought over 800 fugitives to justice.

Producers of the show have been interviewing local law enforcement and have requested photos of people involved with Huden from The South Whidbey Record.

Representatives from the show are expected to meet in person next week with Beech and Island County Sheriff Mike Hawley.

An arrest warrant charging Huden with first-degree murder was issued by the Island County Prosecutor’s Office in May 2005, but it did not become public until Aug. 2005.

Acting on the advice of investigators from the U.S. Marshal’s Service, Hawley and Prosecutor Greg Banks did not immediately release the arrest warrant information to the media.

Authorities have since asked for the public’s help in resolving the two-year-old murder case.

Federal law enforcement officials are continuing to aid in the investigation, Beech said.

Police consider Huden armed and dangerous. He is charged with killing Douglas, 32, on

Dec. 27, 2003. Douglas was found shot at point blank range with a .380 pistol; his body was inside his yellow Geo Tracker parked off a wooded driveway on Wahl Road. He was discovered by vacationers walking their dogs in the area.

Following the murder, detectives with the county sheriff’s office began an intense investigation of the crime that led them to Nevada, New Mexico and Florida. While in those three locations, they interviewed people connected to Huden, including his former girlfriend Peggy Thomas, who lives in Henderson, Nev.; and Huden’s wife Jean, who lives in Punta Gorda, Fla. In Las Cruces, N.M., detectives retrieved the murder weapon, which Huden allegedly gave to a friend who had moved from Nevada to Las Cruces.

Beech hopes the show airs a detailed account of the crime.

“If the Huden case is featured on America’s Most Wanted millions of people will see it all over North America. You can run, but you can’t hide.” Beech said.

Anyone with information about the case should contact the Island County’s Sheriff’s Office at 360-679-7323; or the U.S. Marshal’s Service at 206-370-8600.

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