Terapon Adhahn

Terapon Dang Adhahn (b. circa 1965) is a convicted sex offender from Tacoma, Washington who made national and international headlines for his alleged involvement in the abduction and murder of 12-year-old Zina Linnik and suspicions revolving around the abduction and murder of AMBER Alert namesake Amber Hagerman.[1][2] Charges were also filed against him involving the rape and abduction of an 11-year-old girl near Fort Lewis, Washington in 2000 and the repeated sexual assaults of a teenage acquaintance that span from 2000 to 2004.[3]

Biography

Adhahn was born in Bangkok, Thailand to Pennsiri Bower and a Thai father.[4] As a child, Adhahn was allegedly raped repeatedly by an older sibling.[4] It was also reported that his father physically abused him until his parents divorced around the time Adhahn was 3 or 4.[5] After Adhahn's father left, his mother married an American serviceman and the family moved to San Diego in 1977. Following his high school graduation, Adhahn took part in traditional Buddhist ceremonies and became a Buddhist monk.[4] He later became a legal resident and enlisted in the U.S. Army. In his two tours of duty, Adhahn would serve at Fort Dix in New Jersey, Germany and Fort Lewis.[6] Adhahn married in 1986 and had two children. In 1989 he moved to Western Washington and settled in Tacoma. Investigators believe he may have visited the area prior to his move.[5] Adhahn separated from his wife in September, 1990 and filed for divorce in May 1998. Around this time Adhahn was living with another woman who gave birth to a son. For a time he lived with his mother in Fort Worth, Texas.[6]

Rape and incest conviction

In 1990, Adhahn was convicted of rape and incest against his half sister when she was 16.[7] Following the conviction, Adhahn served two months in jail and attended court order treatment for five years.[8] He was classified as level one ("low risk") sex offender and required to register as a sex offender.[5] Adhahn did not face deportation due to his status as a legal resident with federal law dictating that it was not a requirement for first-time offenders. In 1992, he was convicted of intimidation with a weapon in Tacoma, but officials at the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) were not aware of this second conviction and Adhahn was allowed to stay in the country.[9]

Zina Linnik

Zina Linnik was abducted from behind her home in the Hilltop Neighborhood of Tacoma during a 2007 Fourth of July celebration. Her father heard a scream and ran to the back to find one of Zina's flip-flop shoes on the ground and a gray van leaving. He was able to make out a partial on the van's license plate which was traced back to Adhahn.[10] Through his lawyer, Adhahn told police where they could find the Tacoma girl's body, though he reportedly did not confess to her abduction or murder.[8] On July 20, Pierce County prosecutors said they planned to charge Adhahn in Zina's case with aggravated murder, which carries a maximum penalty of death in Washington state.[11] However, because Pierce County prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty if Adhahn would cooperate with police and help find Linnik's body, Adhahn faced a maximum penalty of life in prison.[12]

Amber Hagerman

Following the discovery of Zina Linnik's body, Adhahn's name and profile was submitted to the Arlington police department in connection with the 1996 abduction and slaying of Amber Hagerman. Adhahn's mother and brother lived near the Fort Worth area at the time of Amber's death though no direct evidence has been found that places him in the area during this time. During the time period, Adhahn was required to attend mandatory sex offender therapy sessions on a weekly basis in Tacoma, Washington. Tacoma police contacted the Arlington department when similarities appeared between Amber's case and a 2000 Fort Lewis rape and abduction that Adhahn was charged with.[13]

References

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