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Sheriff's reports fill in blanks of Stevens' disappearance

Wendy Stevens - Courtesy photo
Wendy Stevens
— image credit: Courtesy photo

A phone call from the Bremerton Patriot seeking comment from Wendy Stevens over allegations that she stole Bremerton PTA funds, seems to have prompted the school board candidate's Sept. 25 disappearance.

Stevens was taken into custody by Bremerton police at around noon today after detectives determined they had probable cause to arrest her for forgery and theft in the first degree. She was booked in the Kitsap County Jail with a total bail of $100,000 and is expected to appear in court sometime Monday.

Stevens disappeared at about 9 a.m. Sept. 25 and was found the next afternoon by a friend at Illahee State Park. She was taken to Harrison Hospital where detectives later interviewed her and the search was suspended. Stevens told detectives that she attempted to take her own life and cut her wrists with a kitchen knife, but only had superficial cuts. She also told them that she attempted to drown herself, but the water was gross and jellyfish were freaking her out.

After receiving a 7:30 p.m. phone call from the Patriot on Sept. 24, Stevens went into a back bedroom of her home. About 20 minutes later, her husband, Jason, went to check on her. According to a police report, "she had a terrified look on her face."

"Jason asked if she was okay and Wendy replied something similar to 'I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I screwed up and I'm in so much trouble,' " the report states. "Wendy continued to apologize to Jason but refused to tell him what she was referring to."

The next morning, when Jason returned home from work at around 9:45 a.m., he discovered a note left on his wife's nightstand. The note began with, "I'm sorry I didn't know how to say no."

Stevens said she felt inadequate and wanted her husband and daughter to have everything.

"I was so angry and I would not know how to handle it," Stevens wrote. "I'm ashamed I can't face you or what I've done and I know you love me but I hate myself. You have no idea of our finances, I hid it. I shouldn't have I told you it was ok, made you sign things for the PTA and just thought it would be ok. It was wrong, we are so bad at our finances and that is my fault. I'm sorry that I let you down, I'm sorry I failed."

Stevens then wrote that she loves her husband and daughter.

"I hurt everything I care about and I can't make it better," the note concludes. "I'm not strong enough to be the person you deserve ...... I'm trulysorry."

While the search was underway for his wife, Jason Stevens told detectives that two women from the PTA stopped by his residence and told him about allegations that his wife had stolen money.

"Jason said this was the first he had heard of this and did not understand why Wendy would take money," the sheriff's office report states. "Jason said he believed their personal finances were 'okay.' He said they were behind a couple of months on their mortgage, but their vehicles and other bills were current. Jason also indicated because he was often out to sea, Wendy controlled their finances and he was not aware of any problems."

Jason Stevens also told detectives that his wife said no one was willing to help her as President of the Naval Avenue PTA during the last year of her term (2012-2013) and she wanted him to serve as treasurer of the association.

"Jason stated he initially was hesitant because he was in the military and did not have time to devote to the position," the sheriff's office report states. "Wendy assured him that it would be 'in name only' and she would take care of all the paperwork. Jason said Wendy often had him sign PTA checks that he believed were for reimbursement purposes. He also stated Wendy prepared the Treasurers Notes, which he read at the PTA meetings. Given the allegations, Jason was concerned about the checks he had signed, under Wendy's direction."

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