Woman killed, found inside tank in Cal Anderson Park

Originally published on KIRO 7.

SEATTLE — A woman was found dead at Cal Anderson Park and a man who was a person of interest in her death was found dead hours later inside a tank at the pump station at the park.

Seattle police detectives said they are investigating the death of the woman as a domestic violence homicide.

About 8 p.m. Wednesday, officers were called to the northeast part of the park to help Seattle Fire Department medics as they performed CPR on a woman who was unresponsive.Content Continues Below

Medics were unable to revive her and she was declared dead at the scene. Detectives called to the park determined that it was a homicide.

Detective Mark Jamieson said the woman had been beaten and her injuries were trauma, though it would be up to the Medical Examiner to determine her cause of death.

On Thursday evening, the King County Medical Examiner identified the woman as 38-year-old Lisa Vach.

Around the same time, officers received reports of a man who had broken into the pump station on the west side of the park.

Multiple sources identify the suspect as Travis Berge – someone very familiar to police, and to KIRO7.

KIRO7 previously interviewed him Berge multiple times about his prolific criminal history – including dozens of arrests – and his methamphetamine addiction.

After speaking with witnesses, officers determined that Berge and the woman killed had a domestic relationship and were staying in a makeshift shelter in the park earlier that night.

Officers tried to get Berge to come out of the pump station, but he barricaded himself inside the building. Negotiators tried to talk to Berge, but eventually SWAT was called.

Police said SWAT officers used a variety of tools and techniques to get the man to surrender peacefully, but he refused to come out of the building.

About 12:30 a.m. Thursday, SWAT officers entered the building and found the man unresponsive at the bottom of a 10-foot tank, which contained about 50 gallons of 12 percent bleach solution. He was declared dead at the scene.

Seattle Fire came back to the park with a hazmat crew to assess the scene and help the medical examiner recover the body.

The medical examiner will determine the cause and manner of death of both people.

Seattle Public Utilities secured the pump house building and said the city’s water supply was not affected.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Seattle Police Department violent crimes tip line at (206) 233-5000.