This is Part 3 and the final episode in our story covering the Mysterious Murder of Miker Emert.
Mike and Mary Beth Emert lived in Redmond, Washington, and they had a dream life. They were also prosperous partners in the competitive world of Seattle-area real estate. But on January 4, 2001, their dream life together was shattered when Mary Beth received a call from her mother that Mike had been murdered. Join us as we explore the investigation into this mysterious case.
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Previously on The Secret Sits, we took you through the details in the murder of real estate agent Mike Emert and in that we discussed several of the possible suspects. Investigators have just gotten a hit on DNA associated with this case and hopefully now, we can now put the puzzle pieces together. And that is where we find ourselves while we pick up our story today.
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Welcome to The Secret Sits, I’m your host John Dodson. Join us every Thursday as we uncover the Secrets behind the world’s most fascinating true crime cases. You can find all episodes of The Secret Sits for free on Apple Podcast, Spotify or where ever you get your podcasts. And if you like what you are hearing, reach out to us on Instagram and Facebook @The Secret Sits Podcast or on Twitter @SecretSitsPod. Now, on with our story.
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Now if you remember back to episode 1 of this story covering the mysterious death of Mike Emert, I told you about a would-be home invasion at the Lake Washington home of Dr. Craig McAllister, this had taken place on March 26th, 2010. Dr. Craig McAllister and his 20-year-old son, Ryan, who was at home, visiting his parents from college, pulled up to the McAllister’s home, a beautiful home sitting on the majestic Lake Washington. Dr. McAllister was an orthopedic surgeon, who had done very well for his family. As they approached the house, Dr. McAllister parallel parked out on the street, earlier that day, they had received a large delivery of pine bark mulch, which was now piled in the driveway. Dr. McAllister and Ryan, were joking and in great spirits as they walked the short distance from the street to the home’s front door, but just as the two men were approaching the large mulch pile in the homes’ driveway, a masked man rose from behind the pile in the driveway, like a shadowy figure in a scary movie. The man spoke in a relaxed voice and he told the two men to “Just relax”, this shadowy figure said that he had a gun, but if they cooperated, no one would get hurt. Craig McAllister stood still, but he was not standing in shock, he was focused, taking in everything about the situation happening around him. Who was this man in his driveway? If this was a normal break in, when two adult men showed up an average burglar would have run away, but this man had not. Why? If this man is not running, it is because what he wants is inside of the house, but what was inside of the house? Craig McAllister’s wife, Stacey and 13-year-old daughter, Lauren were inside of the house and Craig was going to guarantee that this man, never reached them.
Craig McAllister sprang into action, lunging at the dark figure and tackling the man to the ground. The two men began wrestling and the shadowy figure produced an object that lit up the area around the men, each time the electric blue arcs shot out of it. The would-be home invader began to shock Craig over and over with a stun gun, but still Craig was prevailing in the fight, at one point during their tussle, Craig ripped the black ski mask from the man’s face. Ryan bolted for a neighbor’s house; he knew he needed to call 911 as his father was subduing this burglar. Just as Craig began to gain control over the man, another man in a black ski mask appeared from the side of the house, Craig was made aware of his presence as the man pistol whipped Craig from behind. Craig collapsed to the ground; blood ran warm from behind his left ear. The two men left Craig where he lay in his own driveway and both men rushed to the front door of the house, furiously kicking and pounding on the door, their mighty effort to enter the dwelling. Stacey, was inside of the house, when she suddenly began hearing pounding on the front door of the home. She knew her husband and son were due home any time now, so she walked to the front door and just opened it, to see what all of the commotion was about. As soon as the front door flew open, Stacey saw standing before her, two men, one in a black ski mask, Stacey screamed and slammed the door closed, flipping the deadbolt in almost one fluid action, the men did not even have time to react before the door was already closed and locked, right in their faces. She then ran for the phone and called 911. The surgeon had fought back and protected his home and family and the two men had escaped into the dark night. But before the two men ran away, Dr. McAllister had torn one of the men’s masks from his face and in that mask, there was DNA. In episode one we talked about Jeffrey John Solo, father of world famous soccer star Hope Solo, he was the first suspect in the murder of Mike Emert, well this was not Jeffrey’s DNA. In episode 2 we talked about Gary Krueger and all of his bad deeds, this was also not Gary Krueger’s DNA. When the DNA from the ski mask came back, it was a match to a man named John Alan Bradshaw.
When police looked up John Alan Bradshaw, they learned that he was now 65-years-old and he had held convictions for arson and money laundering, not truly violent crimes, nor were they crimes similar to home invasion. John had served his sentence from 2001 through 2008, after he left prison, he moved into a home that was owned by one Mr. Gary Krueger. Yes, we have a connection. In the weeks following the botched home invasion, police could not locate John Alan Bradshaw, and they could not find Gary Krueger either, actually no one could find either of the men. Gary’s wife, Betty, actually files a missing person’s report in the mist of the police searching for him anyway. In Betty’s report she told the police that Gary was out of work and desperate for money. This little clue led the police to believe that Gary and John Alan had been working together to pull off the home robbery. But the target still did not make any since, why would these men rob one house instead of a bank, or a store that would have a guaranteed haul? That question would swirl around the police department for quite a while as the cold slowly grew colder and colder. The next piece of the puzzle did not reveal itself for another 6 months.
6 months after the failed home invasion at the McAllister home, in September of 2010, a body was found floating in the waters of Lake Washington, the next day Betty Krueger was filing for bankruptcy protection. Close to where Gary Krueger’s body had been found there was a nine-foot skiff, which had been stolen from the McAllister’s home, on the night of that ill-fated home invasion. The boat looked like it had capsized and it now lay on the ground below the water, Lake Washington, now its watery grave. Inside of the boat, was a duffle bag containing hand restraints, duct tape and ammunition matching the weapons carried by the two home invaders, as described by Dr. Craig McAllister and his adult son. This new evidence made it seem even more like this was suppose to be more than a simple home robbery, this evidence spoke of a much more malicious crime. As the investigation continued, police attempted to make any connections between the McAllister family and either Gary Kreuger or John Alan Bradshaw, but anything they found was circumstantial at best. Even with Gary now deceased, the police continued on in their investigation, they did not know if John Alan was still alive and if he was, he needed to be brought to justice. Dr. McAllister stated, “We're functioning as if (John Alan) Bradshaw is alive and he's coming back. It's just safer to function that way... than to let our guard down."
The next big break came when police discovered the van Gary and John Alan had been driving on the night of the crime. The van was left parked at a strip-mall just over a mile from the McAllister’s home, the issue came with the fact that the van was still there, we know why Gary had not returned to the van, by why had John Alan not returned? When the King County Sheriff’s office was asked if they believed John Alan Bradshaw was still alive the spokesman said this, “Of course, it's possible. But they went in the water in March in the middle of the night. You'd have to be a pretty good swimmer."
Nothing much happened around this case, for a very long time and the King County Sheriff’s department did not talk about the case much more, until 2016, when they finally decided they had a conclusion to the mystery surrounding the case, why the McAllisters, why rob them? In a press conference, detective Scott Tompkins of the King County Sheriff’s department stated, “The motive was that the doctor would not do Betty's knee replacement surgery." So, there you have it, the long awaited mystery is finally over, two men had attempted to break into a family’s home and do god only knows what to this family because the Dr would not do Gary’s wife’s knee surgery. Oh, and it gets even better, Dr. McAllister would not do the surgery because the Krueger’s could not afford it, but Dr. McAllister is a nice guy and he even offered to perform the surgery if the Krueger’s could pay on a payment plan, but Gary refused, he wanted Dr. McAllister to perform the surgery for free, which was never going to happen, come on Gary, where do you live? Nothing is free in the United States.
In Gary Krueger’s final criminal act, at least he was doing something stupid, in an attempt to take care of a person he truly loved.
It had been a year since Gary Krueger’s body was discovered afloat in Lake Washington when Mary Beth Emert received the phone call telling her that they had a match to the DNA of her husband’s killer, but that information was not truly as it seemed. Mary Beth listened as it was explained that the DNA match was paired to forensic evidence found inside of Mike’s black Cadillac Escalade. The DNA of her husband’s killer had been in CODIS since 2001, but the DNA that it matched to had been sitting on a shelf for years, the DNA of Gary Krueger. Remember how Gary’s DNA was not taken for years after he was paroled? And then the FBI’s backlog caused the sample to not be uploaded for another 4 years? So now, as Mary Beth Emert is sitting on the phone with the police, and they are telling her that they located her husband’s killer, the suspected killer has already been dead for a year and a half. Now because Gary Krueger dead, they may never know why Gary’s DNA was found in Mike’s SUV, or why Mike Emert was murdered in the first place.
Because Mike Emert was a real estate agent and Gary Krueger had that short stent as a real estate agent, police began to investigate that as a lead, but after all of their investigations, police could never find anything that linked Gary Krueger to Mike Emert. During their investigation detectives did find evidence that made them return to their early theory that Mike Emert’s murder had been a professional hit. There had been a string of murders during the 1980’s and Gary Krueger’s name kept coming up closer and closer to these cases.
In 1981, a former Seattle police officer named Terry Dolan was shot while standing outside of a gas station that he owned and operated. Terry died from his wounds and police initially thought this was a robbery gone wrong, however; later they changed their findings to say that this was a staged robbery by an unknown killer. Gary Krueger was suspected of being involved in his crime, but there was never enough evidence to arrest him.
In 1984, Jim Barry was working late in his office in Bellevue. Jim was an attorney and he was preparing for an appointment with a client. Before this client arrived, an unknown assailant entered the office and stabbed Jim over and over, the attacker then left and Jim Barry slowly blead to death on his office floor, left to be found by his anticipated client. Jim Barry had been representing a bank which was perusing collections against Gary Kreuger for delinquent payments on a large loan.
In 1985, Mario Vaccarino, president of the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union Local 8, was found dead, in a bathtub. In almost an identical scenario to the murder of Mike Emert, Mario had been savagely beaten to death and then drug to a bathtub. Mario’s body was then sprinkled with a nice serving of parmesan cheese, this is suppose to be some kind of warning in the mob, but I could not find anything to tell me what it means. If you know what kind of warning the mob is sending by sprinkling parmesan on a dead body, tweet me.
Once again, Gary Kueger’s name was involved in this case, Gary’s good friend, Joe Massimino, Sr., worked for the union and the two went all the way back to their time in Vietnam. Word is that Joe worked for Mario and Joe was scared he was going to get fired, conveniently though, after Mario was killed, Joe took his place and became president of the Union, it’s nice how things work out sometimes.
After Gary’s body was located, police went to question Betty about Gary’s potential criminal involvement. When the investigators broached the subject of Mario Vaccarino’s death, Betty look the men straight in their faces and she told them, “Of course he did.” Gary had killed Union Boss Mario Vaccarino. Investigators do believe that Gary Krueger was involved or perpetrated all three of the murders I have mentioned, Terry Dolan, Jim Barry and Mario Vaccarino, there has never been enough evidence against Gary for these crimes and he is gone now anyway, so why does this matter? Well, Gary did have extremely loose connections to these men, as I explained, but police truly believed that Gary had murdered all of these men, as a professional hitman.
Chris Halsne, an investigative journalist who covered Gary Kruger's history for the Seattle-area TV station KIRO, stated this about Gary Krueger, "Write up a terrible, evil character. A serial killer, a man with no soul, and think it's fiction. But you're really writing about Gary Krueger."
And along with these three murders from the 1980s, Gary is also suspected of killing Mike Emert in 2001, because of Gary’s violent past, his criminal record and his DNA being inexplicable found in Mike’s SUV, he was the only suspect in the case. The question remained, why. This could only be answered by the police’s theory, Gary was a professional hitman. It has been over a decade since police discovered the evidence that tied Gary Krueger to Mike Emert’s murder, but they are still no closer to answering the question, why.
Mike was a successful real estate agent; he was well-liked and had a promising career ahead of him. If what the police theorize is true and Gary Krueger was a killer for hire, now Gary is dead, but the person who hired him to murder Mike Emert, is still out there and that person has escaped justice for over two decades. If you research this case, the case we began with, the mysterious murder of Mike Emert, it might look like a case which is solved, but it is not. The police have built an elaborate story about a monster named Gary Krueger, and I can call him a monster, but Gary Krueger never stood trial for this crime and no one has ever been held accountable for the murder of Mike Emert. And as proof, I submit to you, the King County Sheriff spokesman in 2016, saying this, “The case of Mike Emert is an open active case.” Was Gary Krueger a killer for hire? Was he the sole perpetrator in the murder of Mike Emert? We dance round in a ring and suppose, but the secret sits in the middle and knows.
This is the end of our last episode covering the mysterious death of Mike Emert, but I wanted to take a couple of extra moments and talk to you as a listener of The Secret Sits. You know, I started this podcast with my husband two years ago, during the height of a global pandemic, probably, well hopefully, the only global pandemic I will ever have the pleasure of living through. And we started this podcast because I have always had a passion for true crime stories. I listen to many other podcasts and yes most of them are true crime, or true crime adjacent, but I also know when I need to branch out and listen to something that is not based purely in true crime. I am very excited about our next episode, not only will it be our 100th episode of The Secret Sits, something to celebrate to be sure, and it will also be the final episode of Season 2 of The Secret Sits. We cannot believe that we have made 100 episodes of this show, which has changed and evolved into something we are so very proud to present to you each week. But with the end of Season 2 comes a hiatus for The Secret Sits, do not worry, we are definitely coming back to you with Season 3 of The Secret Sits and we are already working on new stories told to you in interesting and beautiful ways. We will also be working on additional projects that will be premiering later this year. Do you love the stories in the Grimms’ Fairy Tales? Well, pop in your ear buds and listen to Rumpelstiltskin while you take your dog out on a walk, or gently fall asleep to the tale of The Fisherman and His Wife. If the Grimms’ Fairy Tales is not your cup of tea, then wait for the release of A Daughter of the Samurai, by Etsu Inagaki Sugimoto which tells the true and fascinating story of a real Japanese samurai's daughter, brought up in the strict traditions of feudal Japan, who was then sent to America to meet her future husband. An engrossing, haunting tale that gives us insight into an almost forgotten age. We will be releasing all new content, outside of The Secret Sits that you will not want to miss. Keep an eye out on The Secret Sits’ social media for updates. Until then, we dance round in a ring and suppose, but the secret sits in the middle and knows.