The Tube Sock Killings

On August 10, 1985, 27 year old Steven Harkins and 42 year old Ruth Cooper went camping for the weekend at Tule Lake in Washington. They brought their dog with them.

Ruth and Steven

The couple worked together and were dating. When neither of them showed up for work on Monday, they were reported missing.

Steven’s body was found in a sleeping bag by hikers on August 14. He was near a campsite and had been shot in the head, presumably while sleeping. His dog had been shot, as well, and was found a short distance away.

On October 26, Ruth’s skull was found 1 1/2 miles away. She was identified by dental records. 2 days later, her body and purse were located close to where her skull had been found. She had been shot in the stomach. A tube sock was tied around her neck.

On December 12, 36 year old Mike Riemer and 21 year old Diana Robertson took their 2 year old daughter, Crystal, camping near the Nisqually River.

Diana, Mike and Crystal

Later that evening, Crystal was found wandering in a Kmart parking lot 30 miles away. Her parents were nowhere to be found.

2 days later, Diana’s mother saw a picture of Crystal on the news. When they were reunited, all Crystal could tell her grandmother was that “Mommy was in the trees.”

On February 18, 1986, Diana’s body was discovered in the snow near State Route 7. She had been stabbed 17 times and a tube sock was tied around her neck.

They found Mike’s truck nearby. There were bloodstains in the cab and a manila envelope on which Mike had written, “I love you, Diana.”

Mike and Diana

Mike was the main suspect in the murder. He had a history of domestic abuse and the couple had been separated. They reconciled shortly before they disappeared.

The story was featured on an episode of Unsolved Mysteries in September 1989.

Unsolved Mysteries Episode

On March 26, 2011, Mike’s skull was discovered less than a mile from where Diana’s body had been found. It was unclear whether Mike was the perpetrator of Diana’s murder or if he was also a victim.

Someone claiming to be Crystal commented on a story about her parents on

A video summary of this week’s post can be found at

Sources/Photo Credits

2 thoughts on “The Tube Sock Killings

  1. Such a tragic chain of events. How awful that there’s still no strong leads as to who, why, or what may have led to them. Thanks for the extra link. If the real Crystal was indeed the person replying, it seems as though she has no memory as to whom actually dropped her off at Kmart, but is adamant she didn’t get there on her own accord.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad they spared her, but I can’t imagine what it would be like to grow up without your parents and hearing that story. I feel like it would be easy to blame yourself for not being able to remember. I hope she has found some peace and knows that is he couldn’t have done anything.

      Thank you for visiting!!


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