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Prosecuting Attorney

Posted on: November 14, 2017

Man charged with estranged girlfriend’s murder

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TACOMA, WA – Today the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office charged Joshua Ellis with murder in the second degree for the death of Wendi Marie Traynor.

Investigators believe Traynor was killed by a single gunshot to the head in her Milton apartment on November 3.

Ellis, 27, turned himself in at the King County Jail. He was brought back to Pierce County to stand trial.

“More than half of all female homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “We have a felony domestic violence unit that specializes in holding D.V. offenders accountable.”

On November 10, Wendi Traynor’s father, aunt, and uncle went to her apartment in Milton because they hadn’t heard from her since November 3. Their calls had not been returned.

Traynor’s father, who is a co-signer on the lease, obtained a key and entered the apartment. Once inside they found Traynor lying face down on the floor in a pool of dried blood. Traynor’s father called 911.

Investigators found a 10mm bullet casing near the body. Ammunition matching this casing was found in a search of Ellis’s vehicle.

Family members told investigators Traynor had been in a relationship with Ellis for about two years and they moved together to Kentucky in June of this year.

The relationship went sour and Traynor left. The defendant followed and convinced her to return to Kentucky. In October of this year, Traynor moved back to Washington without Ellis. He eventually followed.

Traynor moved into her apartment November 1. Witnesses reported that Ellis was with her at the time.

On November 3, Traynor texted a friend that she was meeting with her “ex” to discuss the relationship “in person.” No one heard from her again.

Investigators gained access to Ellis’s cell phone records and learned he was in the vicinity of Traynor’s apartment on November 3 from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

After obtaining an arrest warrant for Ellis, police sought help from the media in locating him.

Bail was set at $1,000,000.

Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

For more information, please contact James Lynch at (253) 798-6265, jlynch@co.pierce.wa.us.

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