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Bellingham Police arrest man suspected of using mutilated animals to harass woman

Bellingham Police vehicle (October 9, 2016). Photo: Whatcom News
Bellingham Police vehicle (October 9, 2016). Photo: Whatcom News

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Bellingham Police arrested a man for suspicion of felony harassment and stalking crimes related to a series of incidents, some involving beheaded animals. Christopher C Zander, age 59, was arrested April 29th following investigation of a series of incidents that began on April 2nd.

According to an affidavit of probable cause prepared by Bellingham Police and filed by prosecutors in Whatcom County Superior Court, on April 2nd, a Maple Falls woman reported finding a package containing moldy books in her mailbox with a return address where a relative of Zander lives. She told investigators she suspected the package was from Zander since he had been recently released from prison and has a history of harassing her.

The affidavit noted Zander was sentenced in Whatcom County Superior Court to 10 years in prison to after being found guilty in 2014 of 5 counts of violating a domestic violence protection order and was released in February 2021. Court documents show he lost an appeal of the verdict and received credit for time served while awaiting trial.

Later, on April 15th, it was reported a white 2005 Dodge Durango was seen dumping food on a road in Maple Falls near the woman’s home over several days. The next day, a Maple Falls resident reported seeing a white Dodge Durango dumping car parts on their property, 1.5 miles from the other incidents. This was recorded by a security video camera and the recording shared with law enforcement. The video was used to confirm Zander was driving the Dodge in both incidents.

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In the early morning hours of April 21st, Bellingham Police were dispatched to the 4000 block of Hannegan Road due to a report of dead animals in the road. They arrived to find 2 beheaded calves with orange twine tied to their legs. Further investigation uncovered that a dead coyote tied up with orange twine had been dumped on Cedarville Road the same morning. A gravel business has operations at both locations.

That next day, Bellingham Police received a video from a citizen who had witnessed and recorded a white SUV as it dragged 2 dead calves tied with orange twine while driving south at an unspecified location on Meridian Street shortly after midnight. The SUV was identified as a 2005 Dodge Durango based on the video.

Law enforcement was dispatched again to the Maple Falls woman’s residence on April 23rd. She reported finding 2 partially mutilated calves heads on her property.

Police interviewed a relative of Zanders who said Zanders was “going after” the woman and the gravel business.

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On April 29th, Bellingham Police arrested and booked Zander in Whatcom County Jail charged with suspicion of felony harassment and stalking. According to jail and court records, Zander remained in custody as of May 4th pending being able to post a $250,000 bond. During Zander’s preliminary court appearance, the court ordered a designated crisis responder “based on safety concerns.”

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