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Ordway counselor slain in Kingston home -- UPDATE

Ordway Elementary School counselor Jeff McKinstry, in a photograph taken last week by the Bainbridge Island School District. - Courtesy of Bainbridge Island School District
Ordway Elementary School counselor Jeff McKinstry, in a photograph taken last week by the Bainbridge Island School District.
— image credit: Courtesy of Bainbridge Island School District

An Ordway Elementary School counselor was found slain in his Kingston home Thursday afternoon, and his adult son has been jailed in connection with the apparent domestic homicide.

Jeffrey Allen McKinstry, 53, was found dead of multiple stab wounds at his home on South Kingston Road, the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Department said.

The victim’s 21-year-old son, Garrett James McKinstry, was taken into custody at the scene and booked into Kitsap County Jail early Friday on suspicion of first-degree murder, authorities said.

Kitsap Sheriff’s deputies responded to the call at 4:48 p.m. and found the victim, who appeared to have died by “violent means.”

Garrett McKinstry was questioned and subsequently arrested without incident. His initial bail was set at $1 million, the sheriff’s department said. He is scheduled to appear in Kitsap County Superior Court today at 3 p.m.

A cause of death for the victim had not officially been released, but results of an autopsy were expected early Friday afternoon.

McKinstry worked for Bainbridge schools for 12 years, first at Woodward Middle School before joining Ordway in 2000.

“He was a wonderful human being and a very important part of the Ordway community,” Ordway Prinicipal Robert Lewis said. “He touched the lives of a lot of children.”

Lewis said his colleague will be remembered as a caring counselor who was passionate about providing services to both students and families.

McKinstry had recently published a novel titled “The Adventures of the 31st Street Saints” and was working on his second book.

Along with Garrett, McKinstry leaves a wife and daughter.

Bainbridge schools had a scheduled non-contract day Friday, so no classes were held. School administrators met Friday morning to discuss how to notify staff and parents and how to handle what could be an emotional school day Monday, school district spokesperson Pam Keyes said.

Keyes said that staff were to be notified with personal messages Friday.

Ordway sent an email to parents to alert them to McKinstry’s death and let them know that there would be resources in the district for how to share the information with children as well as general information on coping with grief.

Staff will meet Monday morning to determine which schools should have counselors on hand. “Safe rooms” will be set up for private grief counseling, and substitutes will be ready to fill in for any teachers who need to step away from their classrooms.

“Grief comes in all sorts of ways, and we will have support systems to respond,” Lewis said.

According to charging documents provided by prosecutors, Garrett McKinstry told investigators that he had a verbal confrontation with his father when he returned home from work Thursday.

The suspect allegedly told investigators that he stabbed his father repeatedly with a steak knife, then tried to light the body on fire to hide the crime, authorities said.

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