‘It was senseless’: Friends of Skagit County man raise concerns about missing murder suspect

MARBLEMOUNT, Wash. — Skagit County deputies continue to look for 31-year-old James Kelly, who they now believe is a murder suspect in the disappearance of 44-year-old Justin Spaeth.

“Why kill him? There’s no reason. It was senseless,” Rose Adams, who knew Justin Spaeth, said.

Spaeth has been missing since Feb. 28, according to friends. The Skagit County Sheriff’s Office posted about his disappearance on Mar. 6.

“And Justin was a sweet person. When I look at him, you can see in his eyes he had a very gentle nature about him,” Adams said.

She tells KIRO 7 she spoke with Spaeth right before his disappearance.

“On the 26th of February, I got a phone call where I spoke to Justin,” Adams said.

Adams says that phone call was about Kelly and that Spaeth was worried he was going to be robbed by him. She says that Spaeth told a deputy about the situation.

“And the following day he went missing,” Adams said.

Adams believes that given Kelly’s history and this case, he poses a threat to the community, especially for those living in Skagit County.

“And now we are at the time of year where people are going hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, even picking mushrooms out there,” Adams said.

She also believes that the Sheriff’s Office should ask for aid in order to find Kelly.

“Call the FBI. Call whoever it takes to come in and with experience to come track him in the woods. He’s dangerous,” Adams said.

James Joseph Kelly is described as white, 31 years old, 5 feet, 9 inches tall, 150 pounds with blond hair and green eyes.

Kelly should be considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone who sees Kelly should not approach him and should instead call 911 or one of these numbers:

  • Skagit County Sheriff’s Office main number: 360-416-1911.
  • Skagit County Dispatch: 360-428-3211.
  • Skagit County Sheriff’s Office Anonymous Tip Line: 360-416-1950.
  • Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound: 1-800-222-TIPS(8477).