Parents killed over plan to sell family home

New details released by KCSO give potential motive for Sammamish murder-suicide.

Lorraine Ficken

Lorraine Ficken

Matthew Ficken killed his parents Lorraine and Robert Ficken because he was unwilling to leave his family home, the King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) Major Crimes unit have determined.

Detectives believe Matthew — a 34-year-old Microsoft employee — killed his parents sometime around Jan. 10 or Jan. 11, but continued to reside at the Sammamish home for several days until deputies conducting a welfare check arrived on Tuesday. Matthew killed himself before deputies entered the home.

Following her retirement, Lorraine, 68, had planned to move to Oregon to be closer to family. Detectives suspect Matthew didn’t take the news well and was against the idea that he would be forced to find his own place to live. The investigation found that Lorraine gave her son enough money to pay for first and last month’s rents, a deposit and funds for additional expenses.

The Major Crimes investigation suggests Matthew killed his parents because he didn’t want his mom to “sell the family home out from under him” and move out of state.

The Ficken family was found deceased when sheriff deputies responded to a welfare check at the 23900 block of Southeast 42nd Place at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. Concerned family living in Oregon and Washington called King County Sheriff’s Office after their family members had not been heard from for several days.

The body of Matthew was identified by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office Wednesday evening. He died from an intraoral gunshot wound and his death determined a result of suicide.

On Thursday, the examiner’s office said Lorraine died of gunshot wounds, and Robert died as a result of a shotgun wound. Both were listed as homicides.

All three resided in the Sammamish home, where detectives retrieved a gun.

Robert, 72, is a well-known historian who authored several books including “Washington Territory,” a title that explores the economic-and-political history of territorial Washington. His most recent work is “Washington State: The Inaugural Decade,1889-1899.”

Lorraine was a managing broker at the Coldwell Banker Bain Issaquah office and has been involved in real estate for more than 26 years.

“We’re still in shock and our hearts and thoughts go out to Lorraine’s family and real estate team during this horrible time,”Said Marilyn Green, the office’s principal managing broker. “Lorraine was one of the nicest people we’ve ever known – so kind and warm-hearted. She was one of our top producers, and served her clients without fault. We have been hearing from somany clients who are in tears over this tragedy. It is a huge loss for so many and Lorraine will be greatly missed.”


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