Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Details of Disappearance
Stover was last seen by his employees on the morning of October 28, 2009. A few hours later, a woman reported seeing two cars - Michiel Oakes' and Stover's - parked rear-to-rear less than a mile from Stover's home. She told detectives she saw a man moving a bundle wrapped in clear plastic between the cars.
The next day, investigators arrived at Stover's home to find his protection dog, Dingo, shot and wounded. There were blood stains downstairs, and a bathroom reeked of bleach.
Michiel Oakes was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder in the slaying of T. Mark Stover, an acclaimed dog trainer. His body has never been found. Abundant physical evidence tied Oakes with Stover's disappearance: his blood was found at Oakes's home in Anacortes, along with shell casings that matched one of Oakes' handguns. Stover's blood was also found in Oakes' car. On the morning Stover disappeared, Oakes had purchased ankle weights, anchor line and shin guards at a nearby Walmart, according to a receipt found in his car and store surveillance tapes. When detectives questioned Oakes at Opdycke's home, he left and tossed a plastic bag with a .22-caliber handgun down a 25-foot embankment, deputies said. They arrested him and took a 9 mm handgun out of his waistband.
Oakes was the bodyguard-turned-boyfriend of Stover's ex-wife, Linda Opdycke. The couple went through a contentious divorce in 2007, and Stover was convicted of stalking her and ordered to give up dozens of guns he kept. But friends say he had moved on and was engaged to another woman when he vanished in October 2009. Opdycke told one detective she hadn't seen Stover since April 2008 and that she had received no communication from him in some time.
While together, the couple operated a kennel, Island Dog Adventures, on an island owned by the Opdycke family 55 miles north of Seattle. Stover later moved the kennel off the island, which the Opdyckes sold to the state in a $14 million deal.
An outdoorsman and avid hunter, Stover was also a history buff and gun collector with over 30 firearms.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Skagit County Sheriff
Washington State Missing Persons
48 Hours Mystery
the Seattle Times
The Seatlle Times (October 23, 2010)