Neighbor’s call leads to arrest for homicide

A concerned neighbor’s call led to a Kelso man’s arrest earlier this week in Seaview on suspicion of his stepfather’s murder in Kelso. He eventually told police he strangled his stepfather during an argument over beer.

Pacific County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the 2600 block of Willows Road at about 5 p.m. and contacted a man neighbors said had been pacing around his parked car for about three hours.

“Normal people, if they had vehicle trouble they would call for help, that didn’t happen,” Chief Criminal Deputy Pat Matlock said.

Neighbors told police Bruce W. Albee, 56, had been “acting real strange like he was intoxicated,” Matlock said. “And he was staring at one of the reporting parties’ residences, and it made them feel like he was possibly casing the residence like he was going to break in.”

When deputies first arrived, Albee made small talk, Matlock said.

“He explained to them he used to live at the beach and he wanted to come down to the beach because he hadn’t seen it in a while,” he said.

It didn’t take long for deputies to find Albee wasn’t the registered owner of the car. He told them Charles M. Rees, the owner, was his stepfather. They detained Albee while the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office checked on whether the vehicle was stolen and tried to contact Rees.

While they were waiting, Albee “began to talk more about the actual incident” with his stepfather, Matlock said. “Basically he told the deputies he was at his stepfather’s residence, and they got into an argument and he hit his stepfather and his stepfather fell down and he didn’t think he was alive.”

He told deputies he then drove away from the home they shared in the 2200 block of Holcomb Spur Road in Rees’ car.

Cowlitz County Sheriff’s deputies went to Rees’ home and found a body they believe to be the 86-year-old man.

Albee was transferred to Cowlitz County, where in subsequent interviews, told deputies there he had strangled his stepfather after an argument over beer turned physical.

It’s not clear yet which version of events is indicated in the injuries of the man believed to be Rees.

“We’re not releasing any more specific details about the injuries at this time,” Cowlitz County Chief Criminal Deputy Charlie Rosenzweig said Thursday.

Albee is held in the Cowlitz County Jail on suspicion of second-degree murder. The Cowlitz County Coroner has not yet released an official identification of the victim.

Detectives are asking the public for help in learning more about Albee’s or Rees’ activities in the past three or four days. Callers can remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 360-577-1206, or the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office at 360-577-3092.