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Old 11-03-2009, 09:56 PM
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electric Mark Stover

ANACORTES, Wash. -- Police in Anacortes said they suspect a well known dog trainer was murdered, but the man's body has not been found, reported KIRO 7 Eyewitness News.

Investigators spent the day searching an Anacortes home for evidence Tuesday after Mark Stover disappeared last Wednesday.

Animal Control Officer Marie Padovan said Stover was a well known, well liked dog trainer with customers that reportedly included Starbuck's founder Howard Schultz and Mariner Ichiro Suzuki.

Many locals are puzzled, wondering who would want to kill Stover.

Skagit County sheriff's deputies said they got their first clue the night before Stover was reported missing.

"There was a report of two suspicious cars in the area of Thompson Road. The deputy went out and dealt with the issue, but at that time there was really nothing to act on," said Deputy Will Reichardt.

Police said the two cars were spotted parked at the Summit Park Grange, a half-mile from Stover's house. One of them was Stover's station wagon, the other, according to court documents, a Suzuki being driven by Michael Oakes of Kennewick.

"(Oakes) is who we believe to be the boyfriend of (Stover's) ex-wife," said Reichardt.

Oakes is in jail, accused of second-degree murder. Deputies believe he dumped Stover's body somewhere and then parked Stover's Chevrolet at Northern Lights Casino with what appeared to be bloody finger smears on the rear of the wagon.

The search for Stover has been suspended.
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Old 11-13-2009, 08:54 AM
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Default Re: Mark Stover

Anacortes - Mark Stover was a dog-trainer-to-the-stars in the Seattle area. He taught obedience to the pets of Pearl Jam and Nirvana and Starbucks chair Howard Schultz. He also trained his own dog, Dingo - for protection.

But when Stover's killer came in October, there was nothing Dingo could do.

She was shot in the face, but survived. When deputies arrived, the only signs of her master were smears of blood in a downstairs bedroom and hallway.

Investigators have yet to find Stover's body, but prosecutors have charged his ex-wife's boyfriend with murder in a case that may have stemmed from their divorce two years ago.

Stover's friends said they knew little about the breakup but believed he had moved on and was engaged to another woman when he disappeared.

Big loss

"We never talked about that - just about the dogs," said Anacortes police animal control officer Marie Padovan. "Dogs that were uncontrollable would go to Mark and they could be controlled. It's a big loss for all of us dog people."

Stover, 57, and ex-wife Linda Opdycke, 45, opened Island Dog Adventures in the early 1990s on an island her wealthy family owned 90km north of Seattle. Opdycke's father was one of the founders of Washington's biggest winery, Chateau Ste Michelle.

The kennel offered massages, pedicures, a raw-meat diet and weight-loss programmes. The dogs roamed the island freely.

Clients included Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder; former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic; Soundgarden's Chris Cornell; moviemaker Cameron Crowe and his wife, singer Nancy Wilson of the '70s pop group Heart; and Costco Corp. CEO Jim Sinegal. Japanese-born baseball player Ichiro Suzuki, an outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, brought his Shiba Inu there.

"People should have it so good," Cornell told Spin magazine upon a 1996 visit to the island, where he boarded two German shepherds.

Novoselic said Stover worked wonders with his two big mutts. Once, the bassist left the dogs untied outside a convenience store. They didn't so much as lift their heads when police officers arrived to confront a group of loitering youngsters.

"I was really proud of them, and that's all because of Mark's training," he said.

Saved dogs

Stover's friends said he saved many aggressive dogs from destruction by correcting their behaviour. His secret, he claimed, was his knowledge of dog psychology and pack behaviour. He routinely wore dark glasses, making it tough for people or dogs to read his eyes, and he played the role of the alpha male naturally.

When Opdycke filed for divorce, Stover refused to hire a lawyer, claiming he didn't need to go through anyone else to deal with someone he loved for so long. He agreed with her on dividing their assets: He would pay $175 000 for her share of the business; she would get the SUV and the horse trailer; he would get the Porsche and BMW.

And he agreed to move the business off the island, which the state is buying for a park.

In early 2008, Opdycke took out a restraining order against Stover, accusing him of harassment. She claimed that he showed up at her home uninvited and that a neighbour had caught him going through her garbage - for which he was arrested.

He was always armed, she said, and when he cancelled her health insurance, he mailed her a copy of the form on which he had scrawled, "Next time do not call the cops on the guy that controls your healthcare."

Opdycke, who earlier this year became a private investigator, didn't return a message seeking comment.

On October 28, a neighbour of Stover's reported a trespassing at a grange hall a kilometre from Stover's house. Two cars were parked out back - one was Stover's, and the other belonged to Opdycke's boyfriend, Michiel Oakes, authorities said. The neighbour reported that a man by the cars - Oakes, it turned out - had a large piece of plastic.


A deputy later saw Oakes' car and pulled him over. Oakes said he had stopped in at the grange to make a call. The deputy noted dog hair on his sleeve and piles of blankets in the back, and warned him not to trespass, according to court papers.

The next morning, Stover's fiancée reported him missing. At the house, his employees found Dingo, a Belgian malinois, bleeding profusely from gunshot wounds. (The dog is now recovering.) A bathroom reeked of bleach.

A sheriff's deputy found Oakes and Opdycke at her home. Oakes asked to go outside and get some medicine out of his car, then threw a plastic bag containing a .22-calibre pistol over an embankment, authorities said. He was also carrying a 9mm pistol.

His attorney, John Henry Browne, said Opdycke was "deathly afraid" of Stover, and he called the case "a big whodunit". Investigators have not said whether they believe Opdycke was involved.

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Old 11-25-2009, 10:46 PM
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A judge has reduced bail for a man charged with murdering a Northwest dog-trainer-to-the-stars from $5 million to $2.5 million.
After a hearing Wednesday at which defense lawyers praised Michiel Oakes' good qualities, such as raising four children, Skagit County Superior Court Judge Mike Rickert lowered the bail.
The Kennewick man is charged with first-degree murder in the death of dog trainer Mark Stover. Stover's body has not been found.
Oakes is the boyfriend of Stover's ex-wife.
Stover was last seen Oct. 28 at his home and dog-training business south of Anacortes. Investigators found blood in his house and on his car, which was abandoned at a nearby casino. Stover's own protection dog, Dingo, was also found wounded at his home.
Stover had taught obedience to the pets of Pearl Jam and Nirvana, Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz and Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki.
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Old 10-22-2010, 06:17 PM
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MOUNT VERNON, Wash. - The man accused of killing a celebrity Northwest dog trainer was found guilty of first-degree murder on Friday.

Jurors delivered the verdict in Skagit County Superior Court after deliberating behind closed doors for four days.

The defendant, Michiel Oakes, was accused of killing Mark Stover, a dog trainer whose clients included rock stars, moviemaker Cameron Crowe, Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz and Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki.

Oakes and his attorney, John Henry Browne, maintained throughout the trial that he killed Stover in self-defense after the dog trainer came at him with a handgun.

The defendant testified that Stover's gun went off during a struggle between the two of them at Stover's home, killing Stover but sparing him because he was wearing a bullet-proof vest.

In a panic, Oakes said he dumped Stover's body in the water near Anacortes because he didn't think police would believe his version of what happened. Stover's body has never been found.

But Prosecutor Rich Weyerich said that Oakes planned the murder of Stover then carefully covered up the crime by weighting down his body and dumping it off a pier.

Prosecutors pointed out that surveillance video at a Walmart captured Oakes buying anchor line and ankle weights just before the shooting.

Oakes was the bodyguard-turned-boyfriend of Stover's ex-wife, Linda Opdycke. Opdycke hired Oakes after obtaining a restraining order against Stover, saying he was violent and that she feared he would attack her.

Jurors began deliberating on Tuesday, and was tasked with considering an extensive amount of evidence submitted in the case.

Oakes faces up to 27 years in prison when he is sentenced.
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Old 01-22-2011, 12:22 AM
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Default Re: Mark Stover

Missing Fidalgo Island dog trainer Mark Stover and his convicted killer Michiel Oakes are subjects of a 2-hour long NBC Dateline report on Friday. Oakes was convicted last October in Stover's death, even though Stover's body has never been located. Oakes was sentenced to 26 years in prison.
Oakes admitted he shot and killed Stover, but said he was acting in self-defense. He said he panicked and ditched the body because he thought no one would believe him. Oakes said Stover had stalked him before luring Oakes to Stover's Fidalgo Island home.
Stover disappeared on Oct. 28, 2009.
The defense has filed a motion for a new trial, alleging that the judge suppressed key evidence in the case.
The Dateline report is scheduled to air Friday night at 9:00 pm on KING5 TV. Other news pay pre-empt the report.
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