The father of an Atwater woman killed in Washington state described his daughter as a "very outgoing" young woman who loved caring for animals and the elderly.
"She just liked to do lots of good things like that," Paul Cunningham told the Sun-Star. "I do want people to know what a really wonderful person she was."
Paul Cunningham said some facts provided by police have not been accurate. Authorities had described 26-year-old Katherine Cunningham as a Los Banos resident, but her family says that is not true. Paul Cunningham said she was from Atwater and attended Buhach Colony High School.
Authorities are looking for Jacob Gonzales, 34, who has been described as a "person of interest" in Cunningham's death. Her decapitated body was discovered March 3 on Camano Island, a remote area of northwest Washington.
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Gonzales has also been described as a Los Banos resident.
Cunningham's father declined to describe her relationship to Gonzales, saying there's some disagreement about how exactly they were connected.
Authorities with the Island County Sheriff's Office in Washington, citing a need to protect the investigation, have declined to comment on a motive for the slaying and also have not described the relationship between Gonzales and Cunningham.
The sheriff's office said Monday that Cunningham’s missing Honda Civic was abandoned on Interstate 5 in Yreka and impounded by California Highway Patrol. The car is being treated as evidence and will be transported back to Island County, deputies said in a news release.
The Island County Prosecuting Attorney's Office on Monday announced it has filed charges against Gonzales for five counts of unlawful possession of a firearm and a count of motor vehicle theft, according to a news release. He has not been charged in the homicide, but remains a "person of interest," according to a news release.
A $1 million warrant has been issued for Gonzales arrest on the charges, the sheriff's office said.
Detectives discovered a bunker dug into the hillside near Cunningham's body that contained a cache of supplies, ammunition and firearms, investigators have said.
Anyone with information on Gonzales' whereabouts or about the homicide are being urged to contact local police, Island County Detective Ed Wallace at 360-679-9567 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.