VIDEO: One last try to solve West Seattle’s ‘coldest cold case’

Dateline West Seattle: The coldest Cold Case from JaroslawMedia on Vimeo.

Before Seattle Police “cold case” Detective Michael Ciesynski retires soon, he’s making one more pitch to solve what’s believed to be our area’s coldest case of all: The September 1959 murder of 62-year-old widow Pearl Kongsle, outside her home near Lincoln Park. This is a bizarre case for many reasons. West Seattle videographer Mark Jaroslaw tells the story in five minutes, above, including interviews with Det. Ciesynski and writer Daryl McClary, who wrote about the case for (We suggest, if you’re not familiar with the case, watch the video, then read the story – and read more about the detective here.)

21 Replies to "VIDEO: One last try to solve West Seattle's 'coldest cold case'"

  • Things done in the dark often come to light. January 4, 2016 (1:31 pm)

    Interesting. I hadn’t heard of this case. I hope it is solved and that other, recent cases, are solved as well, ie Greggette Guy.

  • Jennifer January 4, 2016 (2:16 pm)

    That is such a sad story. This happened a few years before I was born and I don’t remember ever hearing about it before. Sure would be nice if someone came forward with info.

  • miws January 4, 2016 (2:51 pm)

    I hadn’t recalled hearing of this either, but in watching the vid, and hearing more details, it does sound vaguely familiar. I would have been turning 1 near the end of that month so, of course, would have no personal recollection of it.


    The History Link article is definitely worth a read too.



  • Gina January 4, 2016 (3:11 pm)

    West Seattle, Georgetown and Beacon Hill (south precincts) were where all the cops that wouldn’t take or help collect payola were stationed in 1959. Very little in resources were allocated, and King County Prosecutor Carroll pulled the strings. That is another factor to consider in solving the murder.

  • dsa January 4, 2016 (3:49 pm)

    West Seattle didn’t have a precinct in 59. Georgetown did. Don’t know about Beacon Hill.

  • Trileigh January 4, 2016 (4:02 pm)

    I didn’t know West Seattle had had a hospital (mentioned in the HistoryLink story). It was right on the SE corner of the Junction. Sure wish we had one there now.

  • dsa January 4, 2016 (4:39 pm)

    There was a new hospital built off Holden just west of Delridge in the 60’s(?) I think its condos now.

  • miws January 4, 2016 (5:04 pm)

    Trileigh, the hospital was on the then second floor of the building that used to be on that corner (think Super Supplements old location), before it was torn down for the new construction. The second floor was removed sometime after the hospital’s move to Holden St.


    dsa, the building is still there (as far as I know) and I believe is still West Seattle Mental Health.



  • Gina January 4, 2016 (8:12 pm)

    dsa, let’s rephrase, South of downtown was underfunded. West Seattle, Beacon Hill and Georgetown were covered by a pool of officers that couldn’t be bribed, and were underfunded. All areas south of the Mercer Island floating bridge, but still in the city limits of Seattle.

    Also if something went wrong, what number should be called? The main Police line, MAin7810? Emergency calls, Seneca 6111? Traffic Violation (motor vehicle incidents, no injury) MAin6000 Loc 350? Fire Department? MAin 3344. Amubulance (injury incident) MAin 6000. The delay and transfers on the phone, dispatch of officers from the other side of the bridge, if the bridge was down, up to 45 minutes otherwise, no Medic One at that time. So much delay and loss of time for the investigators at that time.
    I’d be looking at who lived in the houses next door and across the street at that time, and what problems they may have had that weren’t known at that time. Mistaken address is the most likely cause.

  • dsa January 4, 2016 (9:36 pm)

    Given Gina’s summary, is it any wonder the murder case did not get solved?

  • newnative January 4, 2016 (10:09 pm)

    Way too coincidental that dynamite was found on relatives’ property. It may have been a family dispute.

  • dsa January 4, 2016 (10:38 pm)

    I agree with newnative, that and the Bakers dying off are too coincidental. I hope they have evidence from that case.

  • wb January 5, 2016 (11:29 pm)

    Thank you Detective Ciesynski,amazing dedication to the job. I do hope someone comes forward and puts this case to rest.

  • Susan January 6, 2016 (2:15 pm)

    Fascinating piece of WS history that I had never heard of since I moved here in the ’80s. It would be great if something came out of this one last try. My sleepless night last night had me running through my head what other unsolved murders there are in WS? I know Mrs. Guy is not solved which really bothers me. I could not remember if the young couple shot in that same area was solved or the young boy on the bicycle on 35th and Juneau. I guess some day time research is in order.

    Thank you WSB for your great reporting.

    • WSB January 6, 2016 (2:41 pm)

      Yes, the Beach Drive murder from 1993 was solved. We have a few others even just in recent years – Stephen Jeffries Jr., shot and killed in South Delridge in the final hour of 2013, still no arrest; Jeremy Peck, last seen alive at the Admiral Pub on Christmas Eve 2010, finally classified many months later as a homicide victim; Kaari Higgins, found at her Fauntlee Hills home in January 2010, also not classified as a homicide victim originally. She and Jeremy are on this SPD page that sadly hasn’t been kept up, which is why Mr. Jeffries is not on it.
      PS – thanks for the kind words; in this case, all the credit goes to independent videographer Mark Jaroslaw – all we did is say, Sure, thanks for telling us about this, we’d love to publish it! Part of WSB’s “community collaborative news” identity … Tracy

  • russ dille January 6, 2016 (2:31 pm)

    this case has bothered me for years along with the other cold cases I,ve researched>I,d rate this case number three on the listr of local unsolved mysteries behind DB cooper and the Ed pratt cases.

  • Craig January 6, 2016 (7:51 pm)

    Kaari Higgins was found unconscious in her home on December 31, 2010, and passed away on January 7th, 2011. I tried several times to get the dates corrected on that SPD page, but they just didn’t seem very interested.

  • Eric January 7, 2016 (4:49 am)

    i posted this on Facebook. You have facebook somebody knows something. Let’s make this viral people.

    • WSB January 7, 2016 (5:57 am)

      Already there – shared it to our page, which has 21,000 followers, but our website reaches many times that number. – TR

  • VEZ January 18, 2016 (5:02 am)

    No help with solving the case, but the reason I’m posting here is because we have a couple of family photographs taken by my father in Sep. ’59 when I was 2 years old and my brother was 4. In them, my brother is holding a local Los Angeles paper, probably the Herald Examiner. In the two photos, the entire headline can be read: “Mystery Doorstep Bomb Kills Widow”. These pictures have been around now for all this time and that headline has always fascinated me. Thanks to the Internet I now have the full story, and what a mysterious one it is. Thanks for this post.

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