From Peel to Moon

After the memorial service for the Coulthurst family, troopers went down the short list of people they wanted to interview. They’d hoped to see some of them at the church, but only John Peel seemed to be around. They noted him mingling with the crowd, paying his respects.

St. Paul’s Episcopal, Bellingham

Afterwards, Peel and his wife, Cathy, agreed to meet troopers Miller and Stogsdill at the Bellingham Holiday Inn. If there was anything strange about it, Cathy Peel was the reason. She seemed unreasonably nervous. And, Miller wondered, why was she there in the first place? No matter. Kolivosky and Miller had eliminated her husband as a suspect.

Their interview at an end — facts and figures traded, pleasantries exchanged — John Peel told Miller he was going to Reno, Nevada, in the near future. That he was going to Circus Circus with his family. Miller, too, was looking elsewhere. Already he was looking at the Investor’s crew for suspects.

Circus, Circus, Reno

Of all the Investor crewmen, Dean Moon still attracted Miller’s closest attention. If the killer was someone who knew the Coulthursts, Dean Moon fit the description. If the killer was someone who knew how to operate fishing boats, Dean Moon fit the bill.

The list went on. Did Dean Moon own a gun? Apparently so. John Peel told them as much. Did he have a gun on board the Investor? Apparently so. Were there any incidents on board the Investor that may have created friction between Dean Moon and Mark Coulthurst? If the general tension caused by the presence of Irene and the kids counted, then the answer was, “Yes.”

More to the point, there was the incident during the 1982 season when Dean ran the Investor up against a reef. Only luck and good judgment by Irene Coulthurst — who was on wheelwatch with Dean and was the first to sense they were off course — prevented the accident from being worse. When Irene expressed concern that they were getting into dangerously shallow waters, Dean put the boat in neutral. When they hit the reef, they were just drifting. Damage was minimal. Miller knew that with certainty. He had inspected the hull while the Investor was high and dry in Ben’s Cove.

But… the Investor was Mark Coulthurst’s pride and joy. And nothing Stogsdill learned in San Francisco could change that.

Copyright Leland E. Hale (2019). All rights reserved.


Order “What Happened In Craig,” HERE and HERE. True crime from Epicenter Press about Alaska’s Worst Unsolved Mass Murder.

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