Small town rocked by murder of family on Christmas Eve

In the small town of Carnation, Washington, just east of Seattle, the annual Christmas season is a sad reminder of one of the worst mass murders in the state’s history.

The town of less than 2,000 people is the site of one of the worst mass murders in Washington state history. And who committed the crimes may be the most shocking part of all.

December 24, 2007, the night before Christmas. While most people in the small town of Carnation, Washington are busy hanging their stockings with care, it’s a very different scene at the rural home of beloved locals Wayne and Judy Anderson.

Shortly after 5 p.m., dispatchers at the King County Sheriff’s Office receive this chilling call: A few seconds of what sounds like screaming, and then, the phone goes dead.

Deputies are sent to investigate the Andersons’ 10-acre estate, but never make it past the locked gate at the end of their long driveway.

Then, just two days later on December 26, thanks to a “gut feeling” from Judy Anderson’s best friend and mail carrier Linda Theile, the true nature of the 911 call is revealed.

Call it best friend’s intuition, or something else, but with little more than a hunch to go on, Linda leaves work, and races to Judy’s house.

And soon, it seems her worst fears are confirmed. Terrified and in shock, Linda continues talking with dispatchers, trying to make sense of the horror.

In fact, when investigators arrive around 9:30 that morning, they find that the adult bodies are actually those of Wayne and Judy’s son, Scott, and daughter-in-law, Erica. Their 3-year-old son, Nathan, still clutching his mother’s chest. Sadly, beneath Erica’s body, apparently huddled for safety, they find a fourth victim, 5-year-old daughter Olivia.

All four members of the family have been shot through the head.

Hidden in a shed behind the house, officers find the bodies of Wayne and Judy Anderson. Like the others, they have been shot to death.

Judy’s best friend Linda gets the news while still on the scene.

Across town, Erica’s mother, Pamela Mantle, is just getting the news, having spoken to her daughter for the last time as she was leaving for the Andersons two days before.

With six bodies and no suspects, investigators begin scouring for leads.

Did the killer or killers know the family, or was this the work of a random spree killer who could even be looking for their next victim?