For nearly nine years, Rick Marlowe lived in Hoquiam as Ray Mahailovich, working two years as a security guard for the Port of Grays Harbor and taking advantage of numerous local charities before he was killed in a standoff with police in March.
In a report detailing the events of the standoff and the subsequent investigation, a picture emerges of a man who was apparently committed to becoming Ray Mahailovich, not just using it as an alias.
While talking with negotiators during his 20-hour standoff with police after he shot Hoquiam Sgt. Jeff Salstrom, he would only respond when addressed as Ray. According to the report, he claimed he used to be a Texas Ranger, had PTSD from his service in the Army and had been denied his benefits, asked for 7UP and hoped to see his wife, Nina, “one last time.”
Marlowe was issued a genuine Washington driver’s license under his false name and police found a fake Social Security card and birth certificate for Ray Mahailovich. He was apparently able to pass a background check to buy a used gun from Cabela’s in Lacey.
His daughter, Michelle Toole, told detectives in an interview she wasn’t surprised by her father’s actions or the end he met.
“Honestly, I think in the end he got what he deserved. He had a way of charming people making everyone around him believe that he was this perfect, amazing glory boy and, you know, he ended up ostracizing everyone who at one point had been his friend, so in the end he was by himself,” Toole said.
“There’s a good chance that he decided to go down in a blaze of glory rather than face everything that he did.”
She also told detectives Ray had been Marlowe’s father’s name, although she couldn’t explain why he chose Mahailovich.
Marlowe worked for the Port of Grays Harbor, from late 2007 to March 6, 2009. He was terminated after he failed to comply with new background check requirements that went into effect Feb. 28, 2009. The Transportation Security Administration began requiring Transportation Worker Identification Credential, which requires fingerprint verification.
The investigation report contains several letters from the Port, starting in August 2008, warning him he must obtain the credentials.
He apparently missed several scheduled appointments to get the credential, but did show up at least once unannounced. Marlowe apparently claimed someone in the process had a personal grudge against him.
“Ray said there is a person at Homeland Security that will make sure he never gets a TWIC, so his job is done,” a statement about his termination stated.
Shortly after he began getting the letters about his credentials, Marlowe filed a grievance claiming a hostile work environment. He cited issues with his schedule and his name being excluded from certain rosters.
After he was fired, he was apparently unable to collect unemployment benefits, a decision he successfully appealed as Ray Mahailovich Feb. 10, 2010.
After 2007, there’s no evidence he held a job again, although there are a few notations in his meticulously detailed day planner about applying for jobs.
He talks extensively in the day planner about visiting food banks and collecting donated clothing and selling it to consignment shops for cash. He may have used still another name at the shops.
In one entry he is apparently convinced that one church closet’s helpers already took the best items.
“If I had been armed,” he wrote, “it would have been a murder spree.”
Mostly, though, it appears he sustained himself and his wife through prolific forgery.
A neighbor told detectives about asking Nina Marlowe about their income, and being told they lived on credit cards.
“Nina has confided in me that he hasn’t worked in years,” she said, and that they lived on credit cards.
“I said ‘Yeah, but Nina you’ve got to pay on credit cards.’ She says ‘He gets new credit cards all the time and that’s what we do, we have no money.’ “
Social Security cards were found in the names of several other people, including his children and his ex-wife. About 20 credit cards in Mahailovich’s name were discovered in Marlowe’s home.
The neighbor also mentioned Marlowe told her he was leaving town, and he believed his wife might be deported to Ukraine.
“Well, they can’t really do that, she’s been an American citizen for a number of years and you’re married to her,” she remembers telling him, asking why he didn’t offer their marriage certificate to save her.
He explained she had been arrested in connection with some fraud she and her ex-husband had committed in California. The warrants were actually for her and Marlowe.
“He says, ‘Well, I don’t want to do that, I don’t want to get in trouble,’ he says. ‘That’s between her and him,’ ” the neighbor told detectives.
In fact, Marlowe had two marriage certificates, one in his name and one for Ray Mahailovich.
The warrants for the couple’s arrests stemmed from a 2004 fraud in which Nina posed as Rick’s ex-wife, Cathy, in order to sell a home the divorced couple owned.
Now Cathy Cote, she told detectives she discovered her home had been sold when she drove by to check on it and saw strangers outside. They told her they had bought the house.
After she remarried in 2000, she and Marlowe had begun the process of selling the house, but he decided to move back in instead. She told detectives he threatened, “I will sell the house and you will not get a dime out of it.”
When contacted about the alleged fraud, Marlowe said he had never been married except to Nina, and had no children.
He told Sacramento County police that he was the victim of identity theft, claiming his ex-wife, who he said was stranger, stole Nina Marlowe’s identity. He never gave police his location aside from being somewhere in Washington.
It wasn’t the first time he had lied to police about his identity: In 1998, he was investigated for child abuse, but when police came to his house, he claimed to be Robert Thomas. Cote, who was inside with their three children, identified him and he was arrested for giving false identification.
In the police car, he began violently kicking at the interior.
“He then began screaming at the top of his lungs for approximately two minutes straight. He then forced himself to hyperventilate and vomit in the back seat of my patrol vehicle,” a report from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office read.
Marlowe was never charged in that case.
Cote told detectives investigating the shooting and standoff Marlowe had often created fake documents, including some for her and one of their daughters in order to collect more government aid.
“He was a pro at it, he knew how to do it,” she said.
She described Marlowe as violent and controlling, often abusing her in front of their daughters. All three children were taken by the Department of Social Services, the younger two eventually adopted by another family.
On his resume, he claimed that from August 2003 to September 2007, he ran a business called Computer Tutor Services out of his home specializing in computer repair, networking help and training. He cited numerous training credentials in computer security and other technology-related work. In his application to the Port, he listed hobbies including self-defense, charity work at local food banks and “time management.”
Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers said the investigation into Marlowe is ongoing. He hopes to run credit reports in both names in order to identify more potential victims, and obtain records of Marlowe’s military service. Marlowe is believed to have been in the Army two separate times, and on the second he may have received some form of dishonorable discharge.