She was a beautiful young woman on the cusp of a new life, blossoming into adulthood with the looks of a model and a vivacious personality.
All she wanted was to see the world and escape a life of poverty in a destitute city in the former Soviet bloc.
He was a middle-aged man with his youthful looks long gone, holding onto advanced degrees in business and the bitter memories of a failed first marriage.
All he wanted was to forge a new life, and to salvage what good remained of an old one.
Together, they would seem an unlikely pairing: two people separated by thousands of miles and nearly two decades in age, physical opposites from different generations, cultures and experiences.
Yet, they would end up in matrimony — thanks to a correspondence service, the persistence of a man’s romantic pursuits and the promise of the American dream.
But a dream can be fragile, sometimes deceiving. And this one would literally die.
Anastasia Solovieva, a beloved daughter and gifted classical pianist who traveled from Russia to marry a man she met through letters, is dead at 20.
Her husband, Indle G. King Jr., a short, rotund man with a shiny pate and a soft-spoken manner, sits in a cell at the Snohomish County Jail, covered by a blanket of suspicion.
“My heart grieves for the loss of my dear wife, and for the pain felt by her wonderful parents,” he said during a brief jailhouse interview last week. “Stasia was beautiful, intelligent and robbed of a bright future.”
One floor above, in a ward for “special needs inmates,” a young man with a long criminal record paints a much different story.
In statements to investigators, Daniel Kristopher Larson, 20, a convicted child molester and former boarder at King’s Mountlake Terrace home, has implicated both himself and King in Solovieva’s slaying.
Although Larson’s jailhouse confessions have changed, his words have become a key piece of evidence in a delicate case still evolving.
Last week, prosecutors allowed a court deadline to lapse, meaning a first-degree murder charge and $1 million cash-only bail against King, 39, was dropped.
But they say they are carefully pursuing the case, and that charges may soon be filed against both King and Larson.
King’s Seattle lawyers, Jeff Robinson and Cyrus Vance Jr., have said their client is innocent, blaming Larson exclusively for the slaying.
While King and Larson wait for the legal maneuverings to unfold, so, too, unfolds new details of the tangled relationships between Solovieva, King and Larson, including allegations of homosexual trysts, spousal abuse, adultery and deception.
Son of privilege
The oldest of two children, Indle Gifford King Jr. grew up in a well-to-do neighborhood on Mercer Island.
His father is an accomplished industrial designer, and his mother is an art professor and author.
Classmates from his Mercer Island High School days knew him as “Indy,” a somewhat bookish boy who was friendly and well-liked.
He played clarinet in the school band, was a member of the tennis team and drove a two-seat Fiat sports coupe.
After graduating from Mercer Island High in 1979, King enrolled at the University of Washington.
Half a world away, in an impoverished industrial city in the heart of communism, Solovieva was born the lone child to a pair of modest music instructors.
In the family’s home in Bishkek — a city of about 675,000 — Solovieva’s parents, Alevtina and Anatolyi, stretched her mind and imagination from an early age.
As a toddler, she regaled adults with poems and fairy tales that she had memorized. And she seemed to inherit the musical talents of her parents, showing promise as a classical pianist.
While Solovieva honed her skills at the piano, King worked his way through advanced degrees in business and finance.
He studied at the universities of Houston and Chicago before enrolling at the University of Cincinnati to dabble for a short time in doctorate studies.
King next landed an adjunct professorship at Antioch University, a small college in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he taught international business and marketing courses.
In the mid-1990s, his passion for the Russian culture — and women — was well known.
He had already traveled to Russia extensively. During one visit, he placed a classified ad in a Moscow newspaper seeking correspondence with Russian women.
“He always talked about how he was not going to marry an American woman,” said Cathe Mack-McGarry, who took one of King’s classes at Antioch.
In 1993, King’s classified ad paid off, when, via mail correspondence, he met Ekaterina Kazakova, a young Russian woman who dreamed of a life in America.
Eventually, King became an American sponsor to help her obtain a visa for study in the United States, and soon the two were married.
Standing 5-feet 9-inches, with porcelain skin and long, dark hair, Ekaterina “Katya” Kazakova was a stunning beauty who King often boasted about. One day, he brought his new bride to class.
“He was extremely proud of her,” Mack-McGarry said. “And you could just tell she was young and very excited to be here in the United States, and to be with him.”
But their relationship soured.
In December 1995, Kazakova alleged that King “hit her in the head with his fist … threw her head against the wall and continuously pounded (her) head against the wall,” according to Ohio court records.
Kazakova would later seek a court order protecting her from King. The two divorced in 1997, and King, then in dire financial straits, returned to the Northwest.
He lived in an apartment in suburban Seattle and formed his own business venture — King Capital Management Co. He later took a warehouse job at Costco.
He also began searching for another Russian bride and met Solovieva, then 18, by corresponding with Russian women.
Solovieva’s parents, Alevtina and Anatolyi, feared the impoverished environs were oppressing her free-spirited nature.
Solovieva, who had made some modeling contacts, started looking at matchmaking catalogs.
A new life vanished
When Solovieva met King, it was not love at first sight, the young woman’s friends say.
But Solovieva was drawn to King’s professorial mien — something that also attracted her parents to him. And through letters and visits, he wooed the family.
Following a brief courtship and meetings in Kyrgyzstan, the couple returned to Seattle and married in April 1998.
The Kings moved into a new, two-story home at the end of a short street in Mountlake Terrace.
King continued working at Costco and in his private business ventures, and he began renting out rooms in the spacious gray house.
Solovieva enrolled at the UW and took a job at Ivar’s.
“She was a dedicated employee,” said co-worker Natasha Jankauskas. “And she had a sense of humor that just made your day better.”
In early letters home, Solovieva wrote to her parents about how much she enjoyed her life in America. She was making fantastic new friends, getting A’s in school and soaking up all the city had to offer.
Outwardly, things seemed to be working between the newlyweds.
“Everything seemed pretty normal between them,” said Ken Doran, a Bothell firefighter who lived across the street.
About a year into the marriage, however, police were summoned to the King home for a domestic incident. Solovieva showed officers scratches across her stomach and breasts.
She said the scratches were caused by King, but she later recanted, according to a police report on the incident.
Solovieva also began spilling her frustrations into a diary, according to a knowledgeable source who has read the journal’s entries. She wrote about despising any intimate contact with King; and confided in her writings about secret meetings with other men — trysts that King came to suspect.
His jealousy soon would lead King to begin following his wife and become increasingly controlling of her, friends said.
Returning home from work one afternoon in July, King stopped by an Albertson’s and stole two bananas and a 12-pack of Coke, according to a police report.
Police soon tracked him down at his Mountlake Terrace home, where an officer confronted him about the incident.
“King said that he is in a financial bind right now because his wife is divorcing him, so he has to steal to survive,” a police report noted.
In court records, King wrote down “0” as his monthly income.
By that time, Solovieva had already confided a secret to her best friend in America, Tatyana Boland, a UW classmate and fellow Russian mail-order bride living in Seattle.
Solovieva told Boland that she had begun an affair with a Russian businessman who had come to where she was working. She said she was “madly in love” with him and arranged trysts disguised as business meetings, co-workers said.
By August, Solovieva had secretly opened a safety deposit box at a bank near the UW campus. When leasing the box, she expressed concern to a bank employee about others gaining access.
“Anastasia then told (the bank employee) that she was planning on leaving her husband … and that she feared it would get ugly,” according to court records.
Excerpts from Anastasia’s diary, later recovered by investigators and translated from Russian, said that King “threatened me with death if I were to leave him,” and “made inquiries in Kyrgyzstan concerning hiring hitmen,” according to court documents.
Solovieva also was seeking immigration advice from UW experts.
She last opened the safety deposit box Aug. 11. Soon after, she left her husband to visit her parents in Kyrgyzstan, a trip that would last several weeks.
‘He knows everything’
On Sept. 19, Solovieva sent an e-mail to Boland, her friend and classmate in Seattle.
“He knows everything,” she wrote from her homeland.
It was the last time Boland would hear from Solovieva.
According to court documents, King, who had also traveled to Russia that month, told investigators that he and his wife had planned to return home together, but parted in Moscow following an argument.
King said he believed his wife stayed behind, while he took a flight home to Seattle.
Investigators, however, said that an Aeroflot flight manifest shows that both Solovieva and King traveled on the same flight from Moscow to Seattle on Sept. 22, clearing customs in different lines only a minute apart.
Further, investigators said that the couple together took a shuttle van from the airport to their home following the flight.
The date was the last Anastasia Solovieva was known to be alive.
When Solovieva’s parents had not heard from their daughter, and their calls to King’s home went unanswered, they had friends contact police.
Months went by, and still no sign of Solovieva.
Back in their homeland, Alevtina and Anatolyi held out hope that their daughter was still alive.
On Dec. 28, investigators got the break they’d been searching for.
Corrections officers had noticed that King had often been coming to the jail and visiting Daniel K. Larson, a young, slightly built man with sandy hair and a goatee.
Area law enforcement officers knew Larson well.
The child of a broken home who had bounced between foster homes and his divorced mother and ex boyfriend, Larson had a long criminal record.
In 1995, at the age of 15, he was convicted of molesting two young children in Bellingham. As part of his sentence, Larson was compelled to register as a sex offender.
In November, he was charged with indecent liberties for allegedly sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl.
When investigators asked Larson about King’s visits, Larson said he knew only what King had told him: The couple had argued in Moscow. Solovieva stayed behind while King came home, according to court documents.
But under further questioning, “Larson … said that he knew that Anastasia was dead and that Indle had showed him where he buried her,” according to court documents. “He related that Indle had told him that he had killed Anastasia by strangling her.”
That afternoon, Larson led investigators to a wooded lot on the Tulalip Indian Reservation where they found Solovieva’s body under a mattress.
Investigators soon arrested King on murder charges, but Larson later changed his account.
He now says that he had killed Anastasia at the direction of his landlord, claiming the two of them had a homosexual relationship that Solovieva had recently discovered.
“Mr. Larson told detectives he had strangled Anastasia on September 22, 2000, at the request and direction of (King),” according to court records. “(King) had laid on his wife’s chest in order to prevent her from moving while Mr. Larson was strangling her with a necktie.”
Those comments are contained in perjury charging papers against King. Bail was set at $200,000, and King remains in the Snohomish County Jail.
“I don’t know, of course, where her soul is right now,” Alevtina Solovieva said this week through tears and a translator, “but her body demands burial.”