SEATTLE — A man who told a TV newsroom that he had killed his wife and asked the station to post that message on Facebook was arrested Thursday after a high-speed chase, authorities said.
Sara Barrett, 42, was found dead from “homicidal violence” about 6 a.m. Thursday at a Tacoma motel, Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.
The discovery came just hours after Tony Barrett, 41, of Puyallup was arrested in the chase that reached 100 mph from Tacoma to Gig Harbor, where police and state troopers stopped his car with spike strips.
“He got out swinging a crowbar” at officers who used a police dog to take him down, Troyer said. He was treated at a hospital for dog bites on the way to jail and held for investigation of murder.
It could not be immediately determined if Tony Barrett has a lawyer.
On Wednesday night, the caller told KOMO, “I just killed my wife … I want you to put it on your Facebook,” the station reported (http://bit.ly/Z1GYVJ ).
Barrett had called the station because he didn’t have a Facebook page and wanted the station to post the message, Troyer said. The caller did not say where the woman could be found.
The assignment desk asked if there was someone they could notify, and the caller said, “No, I’m not going to be here much longer.”
He said he and his wife had been together 28 years.
“It was supposed to be ‘til death do us part, but she wouldn’t,” he said.
The man ended the call when the assignment desk mentioned police.
“Very odd,” Troyer said. “That was a full-blown confession to place on Facebook.”
Concerned for the wife, the station worked with the sheriff’s office. Investigators were able to identify the man, his wife and their cars.
KOMO News Director Holly Gauntt said nothing was posted on Facebook.
“Some of his relatives and friends called us and said they got a message from him to just check out our Facebook page,” Gauntt said. “We hoped to do the right thing … It was more about helping police trying to find her and trying to find him.”
Authorities said Barrett’s car was spotted in Tacoma and he sped away over Tacoma Narrows Bridge, with police and troopers in pursuit until his tires were flattened and he was arrested. He wouldn’t talk to officers about his wife.
The investigation led detectives to the body at the motel, where the couple had checked in Wednesday evening, Troyer said.
“We were hoping to find her” alive, Troyer said. “But obviously it didn’t work that way.”
The couple was estranged and investigators did not know what led to the killing, Troyer said.
Court records show Barrett had attacked his wife in 2007, holding a pillow over her face until she nearly suffocated, the station reported.
The couple’s grown son broke down the bedroom door and stopped the attack. Barrett pleaded guilty to third-degree assault and served a day in jail and two years under supervision by the Department of Corrections.
He was ordered not to have any hostile contact with Sara Barrett for five years. That order expired on Feb. 25.
Gauntt said the incident was spooky and no doubt shocking for the assignment editor who took the call.
“We tend to get a lot of odd calls. She realized this guy was very articulate and serious,” Gauntt said.
The Pierce County sheriff’s office was called right away, she said.
“We didn’t want to do anything to help his cause,” Gauntt said.