Bellingham woman arrested in connection to body found in Semiahmoo Park

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Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) arrested a 62-year-old Bellingham woman after finding probable cause to charge her in connection with a man’s body found in Semiahmoo Park on April 7. The man had suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

Deputies booked Lynda Clare Mercy into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of second-degree murder around noon on April 13, according to Whatcom County Jail records.

On April 7, Blaine Police Department (BPD) officers responded to a call around 1:30 p.m. about a man’s body, later identified as Thomas Flood, found in Semiahmoo Park. Flood, 67, was a resident of south Whidbey Island, WCSO reported.

The Whatcom County medical examiner ruled the death as a homicide.

WCSO assisted BPD in investigating the murder. Flood’s white 1994 Ford Econoline van was abandoned in Fairhaven around 4 p.m. on April 7. On the morning of April 8, deputies found the van and later asked the public for information on the vehicle’s whereabouts between 4 a.m. and 4 p.m. on April 7.

Police are asking people to report if they saw anything unusual near Semiahmoo Park the early morning of April 7.

On April 12, WCSO narrowed in on a person of interest, later identified as Mercy, when surveillance footage showed her driving Flood’s van around 3 p.m. the day his body was found. Footage from the AM/PM gas station on Airport and Bennett drives showed Mercy, dressed in all black boots, pants, jacket and gloves making a purchase in the gas station.

“This case is an excellent example of law enforcement and community members working together to identify and take the suspect in this case into custody,” WCSO undersheriff Doug Chadwick said in a statement. “Our investigators have worked day and night to piece together this case and follow up on tips provided by multiple citizens in response to our request for information. We appreciate the assistance of both the Blaine and Bellingham Police Departments, who provided critical information that led to the suspect’s arrest. As we continue to investigate, our thoughts are with the victim’s family and friends as we seek justice for Thomas Flood.”

WCSO said that while deputies are not looking for other suspects, it is still an ongoing investigation and information on the case can be sent to the WCSO tip line at 360/778-6663.

The last homicide within the city limits of Blaine was 39 years ago, when a mother and her child died by arson in their mobile home, Blaine police chief Donnell Tanskley told The Northern Light in an email. Prior to the 1982 case, the last homicide in Blaine occurred in 1978 when a man traveling through Blaine decapitated his wife at a motel, Tanksley said.

Washington state court records show that Mercy has appeared in courts in Snohomish County in 2006, Whatcom County in 2013 and  Blaine in May 2020. A Blaine Municipal Court administrator said Mercy was charged with a hit and run and DUI for a May 9 incident. Mercy pleaded guilty to the hit and run and the DUI, which was amended to first-degree. Mercy is on probation for two years and was living in Bellingham at that time, the administrator said.

Mercy has lived in Bellingham, Blaine, Spokane and Arizona.

An anti-harassment petition was filed against Mercy in Whatcom County District Court but the case was dismissed, court officials said. Mercy appeared in Snohomish County Cascade Division Court for not having a valid permit but Mercy was found not guilty, the court said.

Mercy’s first hearing was scheduled for 3 p.m. April 14, a Whatcom County Superior Court clerk said. Jail records show Mercy is being held without bail.

This article has been updated to include information that appeared in the April 15 issue.

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