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2 bodies found at Washington state military base believed to be missing couple, authorities say

By Jennifer Henderson, CNN

(CNN) — Two bodies found on a military base Saturday likely belong to a missing couple whose tenant has been arrested in connection with their disappearance, authorities in Washington state say.

Thurston County Sheriff Derek Sanders made the announcement during a Saturday news conference.

Two civilians found one body on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, less than a mile away from a property the couple – Karen Koep and her husband, Davido Koep – owned, Lt. Mike Brooks of the sheriff’s office told CNN.

The second body was found close by after a further search, according to the sheriff. The base is about 17 miles southwest of Tacoma.

“At this point in time, we are reasonably certain that it is going to be the bodies of Karen and Davido,” Sanders said. Confirmation will come from the coroner’s office, he said.

Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock told CNN autopsies would be conducted Tuesday.

“We understand that their families are struggling mightily,” Sanders said. “It was clear that they (the family) were hurting, but one thing that we did talk about … was how important it was for the families that have the closure to be able to bury their loved ones. And so I hope we are one step closer to that.”

Detectives are still collecting evidence at the scene, the sheriff added.

Karen and Davido Koep were discovered missing on November 13 when deputies were conducting a welfare check after Koep didn’t show up for her job at a chiropractor clinic, CNN previously reported.

Thurston County deputies arrested Timothy Burke in connection with the case, Brooks previously told CNN. Burke has been charged with first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping and was denied bail.

“It is impossible to infer an intent at this point, however the relationship appears to be a landlord-tenant relationship,” Sanders said Saturday.

CNN has reached out to Burke’s attorney for comment.

Burke worked at the couple’s rental property in exchange for housing and was about to be evicted, Karen Koep’s sister, Pauline Dutton, previously told CNN.

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