WWU student killed in Renton while house sitting

A King County man has been arrested after his grandmother and a 21-year-old house sitter were found dead in separate killings.

The house sitter has been identified as Meagan Elizabeth Smith, a senior at Western Washington University.

Smith was a current Western student but was not enrolled in classes during summer quarter, Paul Cocke, university communications director, told The Western Front. The university is offering counseling support for friends of Smith; call 360-650-3164.

Renton police Cmdr. David Leibman said a family returning from vacation found the house sitter dead just before midnight Tuesday. It appeared she had been shot.

The family immediately pointed police to their daughter’s former boyfriend, Zachary Craven, who had caused the family lots of trouble. Leibman told the Seattle Times the motive isn’t known, but investigators don’t believe Craven mistook the house sitter for the ex-girlfriend.

Craven was booked into King County Jail on investigation of two counts of homicide on Wednesday.

He also is believed to have killed his grandmother in the Skyway area Tuesday. Craven had a history of threatening his grandmother, who had a no-contact order against him. He stabbed her cat to death and in September threatened to slit her throat and kill her dog, according to the Seattle Times’ review of court records.