Survivalist and murder suspect Peter Keller is believed to be dead after law enforcement blew a portion of the lid off his bunker and found a body, a pistol and a pool of blood inside, according to King County sheriff Steve Strachan.
Keller, 41, was charged with shooting and killing his wife and 18-year-old daughter last Sunday, then setting the house on fire.
Officers discovered his hideout in a remote area about a mile east of the Rattlesnake Ridge trailhead Friday.
Officers believed Keller was alive inside the bunker Saturday morning after they surrounded it overnight. The terrain was so rugged that four SWAT team members had to go to the hospital for dehydration and exhaustion after navigating around the two-story bunker, built into a steep hillside. One officer broke his ankle, according to The Associated Press.
Strachan said officers used explosives and tools to get enough of the roof off to offer a view into the shelter. They said it was about 20 feet in length with an upper and lower chamber.
Around 10 a.m., a second round of explosives were used, and officers reported seeing a "a dead body inside, a pistol and a large pool of blood," Strachan said.
Strachan said officers believe the body is Keller's. No shots were fired by law enforcement, and it was not clear how long Keller had been dead.
"This is a giant step toward hopefully finding resolution in this case," he said.
Officers will "take a step back" and move slowly in case the bunker is booby trapped, the sheriff said.
Kaylene Keller, 18, and her mother, Lynnettee Keller, 41, both died from gunshots to the head. Their bodies were found in their bedrooms.
News that Keller is dead came suddenly after nearly a week of searching for him and a standoff that officers were saying Friday might go on for days. Saturday morning, tired crews were replaced and hostage negotiators with bullhorns prepared to contact Keller, who was believed to be heavily armed inside his well-equipped bunker.
Keller, a survivalist, may have been preparing the hideout for eight years, a sheriff's spokeswoman said.
Keller's daughter had told her boyfriend that her father had been gathering supplies and preparing for the end of the world.
Trained trackers found Keller's footprints, and then a whiff of wood smoke gave away the bunker's location Friday afternoon. The elaborate hideout was built into a sheer hillside, with multiple entrances and ladders, officers said. Sheriff's deputies shot tear gas into the bunker, but there was no response. Overnight, they reported seeing lights in the bunker go on and off.
"This isn't a hole in the ground. It's an elaborate structure," Strachan said.
Court documents described Keller as a loner who has a survivalist mentality and has been stockpiling supplies in the woods.
An arrest warrant issued Wednesday accuses him of two counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree arson.
He withdrew $6,200 from a bank last week and told one of his co-workers at a computer refurbishing store in Preston that he might not return, according to court documents.