North Whidbey resident Darcy Zook got the scare of a lifetime when police caught a suspect in a brutal rape and kidnapping case hiding in an orchard just outside her doors Saturday.
Zook said her neighborhood on Moran Beach Lane was swarming with law enforcement officers from five different agencies as they searched for a suspect.
Things became terrifying when a K9 officer from the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office came to her door; he said he had seen a man in a hoodie run across the road and go to her house. He and his dog walked around the house and kept asking her where the man was.
“It was really, really scary,” she said, explaining that the officer thought she and her neighbor, who was at her home, were being held captive under threat.
Finally, a group of law enforcement officers converged on her property. The officer with the dog went into her apple orchard and dragged out the man who had been hiding there, about 10 feet from her house.
The suspect, 50-year-old Douglas Blackburn, was put into handcuffs and taken away.
Blackburn appeared in Island County Superior Court on Monday afternoon. Judge Vickie Churchill found probable cause existed to hold him in custody on suspicion of second-degree rape and second-degree kidnapping.
Blackburn didn’t make any statements, but continually shook his head.
Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Eric Ohme said Blackburn’s criminal history includes two felony drug cases and a lengthy misdemeanor history. He was arrested in 2008 for running a methamphetamine lab in the woods near Goss Lake on South Whidbey.
Churchill ordered him held in lieu of $150,000 bail.
Deputies were first alerted to the alleged rape and kidnapping by a 911 hang-up call from a Moran Road residence. Dispatchers called the number back and Blackburn allegedly answered and claimed his young daughter had accidentally dialed the emergency number.
Deputies responded to the scene to check and found “an extremely upset” 42-year-old woman sitting in a car, according to the report by a detective with the Island County Sheriff’s Office.
The woman said she had been in a relationship with Blackburn and had been staying with him in a travel trailer on the property until she left in April because of domestic violence. She saw him in court Monday, June 9, and went to the trailer with him to retrieve some of her belongings.
The woman said Blackburn held her against her will inside the trailer. He allegedly raped her “numerous times” with his hands and many different objects, the report alleges.
The woman said she convinced Blackburn to let her go outside Saturday to relieve herself since the trailer didn’t have a working bathroom. He allegedly smeared her fecal matter all over her, the report states.
The woman said she talked Blackburn into letting her use a shower in the barn, where she quickly called 911 on a phone in the building. She said he grabbed the phone from her and hung it up, the report states.
Blackburn ran from the scene before deputies arrived. Lt. Mike Hawley with the Island County Sheriff’s Office set up a temporary command post and requested assistance from other jurisdictions to search the containment area. Officers from Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, the Oak Harbor Police Department, the Washington State Patrol, Washington State Parks and the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office responded.
Zook said deputies told the neighbors to lock themselves inside their homes during the search, which went on for about an hour and a half. A deputy allowed her to bring her baby ducks outside briefly while being supervised.
While it was a frightening experience, Zook said the deputies, particularly the K9 officer, were extremely professional and she’s very happy they got their man.