Editor’s advisory: The following article contains details that could be disturbing for some readers.
After shooting and killing his ex-girlfriend, a Whidbey Island man called the victim’s mother to boast about the murder and threatened to kill her and her partner before taking his own life Friday afternoon, according to the Island County Sheriff’s Office.
Greenbank resident John Meadows, 42, shot Freeland resident Natasha Blouin, 32, in the head with a SKS-style rifle inside a car with their baby in the back seat, Island County Coroner Robert Bishop reported. The 10-month-old boy was unharmed.
Investigators are still looking into the case and the motive, which seems to revolve around a disagreement about child visitation, officials said. Several of the people involved in the unresolved parenting plan case in Island County Superior Court said there was nothing particularly unusual that would seem to predict the horrific crime, although there were allegations that Meadows was violent and possibly obsessive toward Blouin.
In a declaration for the court, Blouin’s mother wrote that she felt Meadows needed a psychological exam.
“His behavior has been creepy at best and stalker at worst,” she wrote.
A search warrant application by Detective Chris Peabody with the sheriff’s office lays out the sequence of events Friday.
At about 3 p.m., Blouin drove to Meadows’ home, a travel trailer in Lagoon Point Road in Greenbank, to exchange custody of the baby. Investigators believe that Meadows forced Blouin back in her car, a blue Toyota Prius, according to Detective Ed Wallace, the public affairs officer with the sheriff’s office.
Deputies later found a bloody hatchet outside the travel trailer.
Meadows shot and killed Blouin with the rifle inside the car, the coroner reported. Meadows allegedly then called the woman’s mother and told her he “blew off her head,” the detective’s report states.
Meadows told Blouin’s mother and her partner that he was going to kill them both and could see their home. One of the women continued to speak with him while the other called police.
Deputies with the sheriff’s office and officers with the Langley Police Department rushed to Meadows’ home, but found the door to the travel trailer open and nobody inside, Peabody wrote.
The officers were advised that the Prius Blouin had been driving was located off Shore Meadows Road in Greenbank. Shortly afterward, the woman on the phone with Meadows heard a gunshot and then silence.
All responding officers rushed to Shore Meadows Road and found the Prius at the bottom of the roadway, parked in the middle of a dirt road. They found the baby in a car seat in a rear seat. Blouin was in the passenger seat with “a massive open head wound” caused by a gunshot, the detective wrote.
The baby appeared to be healthy and was taken to a safe location.
The detective directed a couple of officers to search a row of storage buildings while others set up perimeters and checked homes in the area. Officers found Meadows’ body on the ground between storage buildings with the rifle under his body; there was a large pool of blood and the rifle was pointed under his chin, the report states.
One of the women who spoke with Meadows on the phone said she suspected he was intoxicated from alcohol or cocaine.
Attorney Molly McPherson, who represented Meadows in the parenting plan case, and guardian ad litem Cindy McDougall, who was appointed to represent the best interests of the child, both said the crime was shocking and heartbreaking.
McPherson said Blouin and Meadows seemed to be working out their problems.
“I don’t think anyone could have seen this coming,” she said.
A number of people wrote affidavits describing Meadows as a loving and responsible father.
According to the sheriff’s office, Blouin called police for a welfare check on the baby when Meadows had him on Aug. 23, 2018, but no issues were found. She reported him as suicidal after an argument on Nov. 25, 2017. She did not report any domestic violence to police.
Blouin explained in court papers that she had struggled with alcohol abuse but was recovering with hard work and the support of her parents. She and her two sons had moved in with her mothers after promising to stay clean and sober, attend AA meetings and go through intensive therapy. She has two other children who don’t live with her full time.
Blouin and several other people wrote in court papers that the baby would fuss and cry unless his mother was holding him. Friends, families and neighbors described in court papers how Blouin doted on her two boys. One woman wrote about watching them holding hands, playing and laughing at the beach.
Her one request from her parents, Blouin wrote, was that they handle the exchange of the child with Meadows so she didn’t have to interact with him. It’s unclear from police reports why Blouin was involved in the child exchange Friday.
Blouin’s mother explained in court papers that she adopted her daughter from Russia when she was 9 years old.