LAKE STEVENS — The motive is still a mystery in the murder case of Phillipa Evans-Lopez, 20, who was stabbed to death in her Lake Stevens home in June.
The victim’s mother, Kris Evans, said in an interview Wednesday night that she doesn’t understand why the suspect arrested in the case would have targeted her daughter.
The suspect, Anthony Garver, 26, had a history of making violent threats to government officials, police said, and the U.S. Marshal’s Office was searching for him for failing to report to a community corrections officer after being released from a correctional facility.
His criminal history includes making death threats, possession of a firearm while undergoing court-ordered mental illness treatment, theft and burglary with a deadly weapon.
After weeks on the run, authorities caught up with Garver on Tuesday at a McDonald’s in Snohomish County, where he was arrested without incident.
Cops said they found a folding knife in his pocket, and prosecutors say it’s the same weapon used to kill Evans-Lopez.
On June 14, Evans-Lopez and a man that police said was Garver were seen on surveillance video footage together at a Lake Steven’s McDonald’s. But the woman’s mother said she never heard of Garver before and she doesn’t believe her daughter knew him well.
“I don’t know if they met there. I don’t know if he just started talking to her, or if she offered him a ride,” said Evans.
“Trusting, too trusting,” she said of her daughter.
Three days later, on June 17, a gruesome discovery was made at her daughter’s Lake Stevens home. Evans-Lopez was found dead, her hands and legs tied to her bed with electrical cords.
“She was tied, hands and feet, to the four corners of her bed with ligatures,” said deputy prosecutor Matt Hunter. “This person’s DNA, who we believe is Anthony Garver, was matched to DNA on those ligatures. “
The victim’s mother said Wednesday night: “I don’t know how someone could be so brutal; she had multiple stab wounds on her neck.”
Prosecutors say Garver has aspired to emulate Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, and that he has studied al-Qaeda training manuals, even downloading bomb-making information from the Internet.
The victim’s mother said her daughter had a good heart and that she was sometimes slow at recognizing evil.
“She took people for who they were she didn’t judge them,” Evans said.
She added that she is not only angry with the suspect, but also with the justice system for failing to keep Garver locked up.
Evans-Lopez leaves behind a 3-year-old son, who is now being cared for by Evans.
“She had an amazing smile,” Evans said of her daughter.
As a child, she was dynamic and playful, her mother said, and as she grew older she formed a love of writing short stories.
“’The princess Who Got Lost’ is what I read at her funeral,” a tale Evans-Lopez wrote when she was 9 years old, Evans said.
Evans is still in shock she had to bury her beautiful daughter at the age of 20.
“I think my biggest question is why,” said Evans.