SEATTLE and SNOHOMISH COUNTY —
The Washington’s Most Wanted Officer of the Month award is well-deserved recognition for Snohomish County Detective Pete Teske – who was relentless in his search for a missing, vulnerable 14 year old girl with the mental capacity of an 8 year old.
“I was extremely concerned for this child and I knew it was a needle in a haystack and a moving needle in a haystack.” Det. Teske said.
Her mother, Kari Kahler, was frantic after learning her daughter had run away from her group home. “We`re not familiar with Everett,” she said. “So, any area that we think she may go it doesn’t hurt to go there and look.”
Det. Teske hit the streets too and his search took him to Seattle. “I knew what she was wearing because I had actually seen her on footage earlier in the day when I stopped at a location and they had video of her and that really motivated me all the more because I knew she was in my area.”
When his shift ended, he kept looking, finally spotting her where no 14 year should be walking late at night — along Aurora Avenue — a place notorious for sex trafficking.
“I just couldn’t believe it was her,” said Det. Teske. “I was just shocked that there she was after so many hours and really it was just miraculous to find her in all of Seattle for crying out loud.”
He said the girl was disoriented and confused. “I have children of my own and by the end of the day I felt like she was one of my kids, I had known so much about her and just looked for her so passionately.”
Her mom says she’d been sexually abused by a pimp, but thanks to Det. Teske, he was arrested and she was rescued. Her mom thanked everyone who helped look for and find her daughter. “Absolutely phenomenal job and thank you for bringing my daughter back to me.”
Det. Teske said, “If my entire career amounts to just getting that one girl and getting her to a place of safety and away from the predators which who she was running with, then I have fulfilled my career goals.”
Snohomish County Lt. Kathi Lang says, “Peter got to save a kid. That’s an amazing thing to do in a career. The office is very proud of him and I am certainly impressed with the job he did.”
On behalf of Washington’s Most Wanted and Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound, as well as our Crime Stoppers partners statewide, it is our honor to present the August Officer of the Month Award to Snohomish County Detective Pete Teske.