Thomas Wales Murder Case Returns to the Spotlight

Recent investigation developments, a high profile news conference, $1.5 million, and a podcast revive interest in the 2001 cold case.
| Posted
Thomas Wales smiling on top of Mt. Shasta.

A 16-year-old Seattle murder case is being brought back to life. The 2001 fatal shooting of Seattle U.S. Attorney Thomas Wales is under the microscope once more now that there is new information that Wales was possibly killed by a hired hitman. A news conference was held today in Seattle, led by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

“This case is one of the hugest priorities of the United State’s Attorney’s Office,” Rosenstein said. Federal officials raised the reward for anyone who has information leading to an arrest from $1 million to $1.5 million. The additional $525,000 will be awarded from the National Association of Former United States Attorneys Foundation. 

“Any attack on a law enforcement officer is an attack on our entire justice system,” Rosenstein said. Mayor Jenny Durkan, Wales’ daughter Amy Wales, and Jay Tabb Jr., the special agent in charge of the FBI office in Seattle also briefly spoke at the news conference.

The Wales murder has recently become the subject of a new podcast, “Somebody Somewhere,” hosted by former CNN journalists David Payne and Jody Gottlieb and produced by Seattle-based media company, RainStream Media

“We find that the contents and the timing of Rosenstein's appearance in Seattle highly unusual, and despite his denials, can only believe his appearnce is tied to the launch of our podcast 'Somebody Somewhere,'" Gottlieb said via email. 

The first episode of the podcast was released on January 30 and follows Payne and Gottlieb through their own investigations of the case and their struggles with the FBI.

On the evening of October 11, 2001, Wales was shot inside his home while working on his computer. Seattle and federal authorities have been on the hunt ever since, with more than 51,000 investigative documents on file, according to The Seattle Times. The prime suspect is a Bellevue-area airline pilot, who has been a leading suspect since the early days of the investigation.

Check out our 2006 feature story that dives deep into the murder investigation and the years of mystery that followed.

Related Content

Each year, our city's online news magazine recognizes a handful of locals who have shown extraordinary leadership with the Courage Awards.

Plus: Noteworthy events in the history of military aviation took place in Washington during this week in history

Are these for real? Or did we make them up? In everything-goes Seattle, deciding may be harder than you think


For the first time in more than a decade, improved selection of “for sale” condominiums and historically low interest rates are making their way back to the housing market.