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FEATURE NEWS

Second arrest made in eastern Washington 34-year old missing person case
Sultan man already in custody

March 07, 2017




Stephen Smith of Cashmere, WA who vanished in 1982


Bernard Swaim, 60, of Sultan, WA. First person arrested in Stephen Smith case.
Chronicle staff

(WENATCHEE, WA.) -- Once again the long arm of the law has reached across the expanse of time and space to make an arrest in a very old cold case.

The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office has made a second arrest in the 1982 disappearance of an eastern Washington man in a case in which a man from Sultan, WA is already in custody and facing a murder charge.

Chelan County Sheriff Brian Burnett announced on Monday afternoon that detectives had arrested Dawn M. Soles, 57, of Leavenworth, WA.

Prior to the July 1982 disappearance of Stephen E. Smith, then 30, of Cashmere, WA Soles was married to Smith.

Cashmere is a small town located on State Route 92 about 12 miles from Wenatchee.

On Friday March 3 Burnett announced the arrest of 60-year old Bernard Swaim of Sultan, WA in connection with Smith's disappearance. Mr. Swaim was charged with First Degree Murder.

Both Swaim and Soles have made appearances in Chelan County Superior Court where a judge ordered them held in custody on one million dollars bail.

Love gone bad, child custody battle

The portrait the sheriff's office paints of what the agency now believed happened to Stephen Smith is that of a love and marriage gone bad and anger over a child custody battle, as possible motives in the vanishing of Stephen Smith.

Mr. Smith has never been located and a body was never found.

On July 18, 1982 Smith was listed as a missing person by family members. He was last seen at his home on or about July 12, 1982. His car was found abandoned a few days later on, ironically, a road called "Dead Man's Hill Road" near Dryden, WA in Chelan County.

In a statement released Monday Burnett's office said prior to the disappearance of Smith, Soles and Stephen Smith were married.

"During their marriage they had a child," said the statement. "Ms. Soles and Mr. Smith ultimately divorced prior to Mr. Smith's disappearance. As part of their divorce Mr. Smith was granted full custody (of the child) and Ms. Soles was granted supervised visitation only. Ms. Soles later married Bernard Swaim and they moved to western Washington."

The alleged murder plot

The statement says on or just before July 12, 1982 both Soles and Swaim traveled from Western Washington to Cashmere "with a plan and intent to murder Mr. Smith."

The sheriff's office says its investigation showed their plan was to get Smith drunk to the point he past out and then Swaim "would murder Mr. Smith."

The sheriff's office says it was eventually able to establish probable cause to arrest both Swaim and Soles for Smith's murder using old investigative interviews, creating additional leads and doing new interviews in the long unsolved case.

Sheriff Burnett says detectives are still doing follow up interviews trying to gather more information about the details of Mr. Smith's disappearance "and locating his remains."





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