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Found skull solves 5-year-old mystery  

URL (may expire, but excerpted below):  

The remains of a woman missing from Bremerton since 1997 and found in Jefferson County were positively identified Wednesday.
Chris Danke, 37, and her boyfriend, Kevin Yoachum of Utah, had been at a Quilcene tavern (correction: Bremerton tavern) until about 2 a.m. Nov. 1, 1997, said her father, Albert Yoachum (correction: Albert "Bill" Danke).

Jefferson County sheriff's detectives have not ruled out foul play in the death of Chris Danke of Bremerton.

Two hours later, Yoachum was found dead behind the wheel of Danke's 1982 BMW, which had crashed into the support of the Highway 104 overpass on Center Road between Quilcene and Chimacum.

Danke was never found. On Aug. 10, a woman hiking at a remote property far from the crash site found the skull later identified as Danke's.

Sheriff's detectives called to the scene also found bone fragments, teeth and what appeared to be a pair of jeans.

A forensic anthropologist with the King County Medical Examiner's Office compared the skull with head X-rays taken of Danke and confirmed the identification.

Danke had received a closed head injury after she was hit by a car the year before she disappeared, her family said.

The manner and exact cause of death are still a mystery, said Jefferson County Undersheriff Ken Sukert.

"There are no signs of trauma that can be determined from the remains that we have," Sukert said.

"The evidence we have is minimal."

Detectives have not ruled out the possibility that Yoachum might have killed Danke and committed suicide by crashing the car, Sukert said.

Yoachum's death was not ruled a suicide, but there was no evidence that he braked the car to avoid crashing.

Danke had lived in Bremerton about two years when she disappeared, her father said. She'd moved north from Oregon, but was originally from Huntington Beach, Calif., and grew up there.

She worked temporary construction jobs while in Bremerton, he said, but was not employed full time.

Her accident injury and resulting amnesia had caused ongoing disorientation problems.

Danke was an avid table shuffleboard competitor, her father said.

Danke was not married and had no children. No services have been scheduled.

Do you have any information?

Anyone with information about Chris Danke, Kevin Yoachum or the two as a couple is asked to call Detective Debbie Kronk of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office at (360) 385-3831, ext. 542.

Published in The Sun: 08/29/2002