Hercules Stolen Car Found, Suspects Arrested

The two people driving the stolen car owned by Susie Ko were arrested following a chase in Washington state.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Southern California couple, Darnell and Tania Washington, have been arrested in connection with the stabbing death of Susie Ko, a retired teacher in Hercules. Cheryl Hurd reports.

    Hercules police raced to Washington state on Wednesday to interview two suspects who allegedly broke out of jail, shot at a Los Angeles sheriff's deputy and now may be connected to the violent stabbing death of a retired teacher whose body was found in her home Friday night.

    Darnell Washington, 24, and Tania Washington, 25, were arrested Wednesday following a high-speed chase involving Susie Ko's stolen blue Subaru. The family car had been missing since Ko's death and was found with the married couple from Southern California -- wanted in connection with a separate crime spree -- inside it in a city near Seattle called SeaTac.

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    The couple was arrested on separate charges, but are now key suspects in Ko's violent and mysterious death, which has captured the Bay Area's attention over the last week.

    One of Ko's four children, Willie Chan, released a statement Wednesday night. His family held a vigil this week, and have tried to get the word out on social media, hoping for to find her killer. She was a retired teacher at St. Patrick's School in Rodeo.

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    "We're so relieved the police have recovered the family car and have made an arrest," he said. "It's a welcomed breakthrough in our Mommy's murder. We believe that your thoughts and prayers have made a difference."

    Added a neighbor Mike Barnes: "She didn't deserve to die this way."

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    The family of Susie Ko prepares for a Monday night vigil, hoping that their mother's killer will be found. Marianne Favro reports.

    In a statement, King County Sheriff Sgt. Cindi West said the Washingtons have been on the run since Darnell Washington allegedly escaped from San Bernadino County jail on Aug. 28. Court records show he was in custody for robbery and receiving stolen property and was scheduled to appear in court Sept. 14. Authorities said that his wife helped him escape from his cell.

    Then, on Sept. 2, the sheriff's department said in a statement that Darnell Washington was accused of shooting a Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy that day in a gun battle in South El Monte. Now, the LA sheriff is also involved in the case and was set to interview the couple as well. The deputy was shot, but survived.

    Authorities got a big break in the case at about 9 a.m. Wednesday in the outlying suburb of Seattle called SeaTac. Sheriff's deputies there spotted a 2011 blue Subaru Outback and ran the plates. Up popped the license plate number that belonged to the Ko's missing family sedan -- stolen out of Hercules.

    West said that when police approached the driver, he allegedly sped away, ramming the officer's car along the way.

    A chase followed and ended with SeaTac police boxing in the Subaru. Police said the driver repeatedly attempted to ram police cars in an attempt to get away, but finally gave up. Both the driver and the passenger were arrested after being ordered out of the car by gun point, according to the sheriff's department.

    Police said a shotgun was found in the Subaru.

    NBC Bay Area's Cheryl Hurd contributed to this report.