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Suspect in Bainbridge attempted murder arrested in Arizona

After six weeks on the run from federal and local law enforcement, attempted murder suspect Edward Mark Olsen, weary of the chase, turned himself in to Arizona authorities a week ago.

Olsen, who has been at large since Nov. 29, when he allegedly broke into the home of his ex-girlfriend, doused her and their 12-year-old son with gasoline and threatened to set them on fire, contacted police on Jan. 8 from a convenience store pay phone in Chandler, Ariz., a suburb of Tucson. He alerted police that he had several outstanding felony warrants and was ready to give up.

“He basically told our dispatchers that he’s tired of being on the run,” said Chandler Det. David Ramer.

Ramer said Olsen, 49, told police he was unarmed and didn’t want to be shot.

Authorities from Bainbridge – as well as national agencies such as the FBI and ATF – had evidence placing Olsen in Florida, Nevada and California, where he served time previously, before the suspect turned himself in. Ramer said Olsen had no known reason to be in Arizona and indicated that his department had not been alerted about Olsen before he called.

Olsen remains in custody in Arizona. He awaits extradition to Washington on charges of attempted murder, burglary and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

Bainbridge Police Chief Jon Fehlman said federal officials handle inter-state extradition, so it remains unclear when Olsen will return to Washington. Fehlman said if Olsen was convicted or pled guilty to all three charges, he could face between 15 years and life in prison.

“This is the kind of guy we need to make sure is incarcerated for as much time as possible,” Fehlman said.

Olsen would then be sent to California, where he is wanted for a parole violation.

Police said Olsen’s victim awoke at 4:45 a.m. Nov. 29 and smelled gasoline. Olsen, standing over the victim, began pouring gasoline on the bed and threatening the woman and her son, who was sharing the bed with his mother at the time, the police report said.

The victim screamed and jumped out of the bed, which distracted Olsen. When the woman screamed, her son woke up and grabbed Olsen, allowing them to escape.

Olsen, who according to the police report, dated the victim for 10 years, recently resurfaced after the woman and her son moved to Bainbridge to get away from him.

The victim, 39, told police that Olsen showed up unannounced on Halloween. She hadn’t seen him since he was arrested in August for assaulting her. The woman told police that Olsen was jealous because she had a new boyfriend.

On Nov. 14, two weeks before the incident, Olsen told the victim that he planned to kill her and then himself.

On Nov. 18, Olsen stole her car and crashed it in Poulsbo. Because of the past history of violence, she chose not to argue with Olsen about it.

According to the report, approximately a week before the Nov. 29 incident Olsen punched the victim in the face several times after an argument about the car. Following the incident, the woman decided not to call police because she was afraid of Olsen’s reaction.

The victim said Olsen battled depression and talked about “suicide by cop.”

Olsen has spent the majority of the last decade in and out of jail. Records provided by the California Department of Corrections indicate that Olsen served at least three months in jail in Solano County, Calif., in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009.

According to police records, Olsen was paroled on Oct. 24 after serving time for assaulting the victim. A week later he was back in her life.

Though the victim moved some 800 miles from California to the island, she couldn’t escape one thing that tied the two together: family.

Olsen and the woman had two children together. One child lived with the victim, while the other lives with Olsen’s parents in Silverdale.

“This is the man she’s had children with, and there will always be that tie,” Fehlman said. “The way laws are, even convicted felons like Olsen still have some rights to see that child. Because of that they’re always going to have that connection.”

Fehlman said the victim may be able to sever that relationship in court by proving Olsen is a danger to the child’s well-being.

Immediately following the alleged attack, Olsen’s victim was taken into protective custody, Fehlman said. She was placed in a shelter temporarily, and police have since helped her find other housing and get her life back together.

“She’s safe now,” Fehlman said.

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