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Suspect in Kirkland Cold Case Murder Fighting Extradition From Montana

Charging documents say Clifford Everell Reed, now 59, was infatuated with Sandi Johnson, a co-worker who lived in Kirkland's Kingsgate area, but she spurned his advances shortly before she disappeared in 1996.

A 59-year-old Montana man charged with murdering a Kirkland woman in 1996 -- described in court documents as infatuated with but spurned by her -- is fighting extradition to King County.

According to the Ravalli Republic newspaper in Hamilton, MT, 59-year-old Clifford Everell Reed of nearby Victor was uncooperative during an extradition hearing Tuesday in Ravalli County District Court.

The newspaper reported that Reed refused to identify himself and signed with an “X” on papers advising him of his rights. A county prosecutor said the state of Montana would begin extradition proceedings.

Arrested Monday in Montana, Reed was charged Tuesday in King County Superior Court with second-degree murder in the death of Sandi Rae Johnson, a 28-year-old mother of two who disappeared on April 26, 1996, after leaving her house in Kirkland's Kingsgate area.

Although Reed remains in Montana, King County prosecutors asked that bail be set at $5 million, saying he is a flight risk, has no known ties to Washington and had been convicted of assault.

Charging documents filed by King County prosecutors provide no indication of what new evidence might have led to Reed’s arrest after 16 years. He had been arrested shortly after her disappearance, but charges were never filed because Reed's remains were not found until eight years later, along Highway 410 outside of Enumclaw.

But the documents portray Reed as a man who held grudges against women he had previously been involved with, and claim a neighbor saw him driving Johnson’s car away from his home on the day of her disappearance. Johnson’s car was found just more than a mile from Reed’s residence at the time, in the Rainier Avenue area of Seattle.

Furthermore, the documents says Reed’s roommate told police that the suspect uncharacteristically vacuumed the residence’s carpet on the day of Johnson’s disappearance, then disposed of the vacuum’s contents, rented a carpet cleaner and cleaned the rug.

Reed, now a disabled auto mechanic, was a co-worker of Johnson at a Ford dealership in Kent, and allegedly told friends that they were romantically involved and had an active sexual relationship. In fact, the charging documents say, while the two were friends, Johnson spurned Reed’s advances and finally told him “back off.”

The day before she disappeared Johnson told a coworker Reed had become a problem, telling another coworker around the same time that he annoyed her.

Johnson, who was separated from her husband at the time of her disappearance, was the mother a 5-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter. She had worked a double-shift the day before her disappearance so she could take the next day off, a Friday, to prepare for son’s birthday party that weekend. The kids had been left overnight with a babysitter, who called Johnson’s husband when she failed to pick them up.

He told police that she had planned to go to Reed’s home the day of her disappearance to pick up some chairs for the party.

Reed remains in the custody of Ravalli County, with bail set at $5 million and a hearing set for Jan 3.

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