TACOMA, WA – Today Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged William Grisso, 41, with murder in the first degree for killing his girlfriend, Nancy Gardner, 45, whom he had reported missing. Gardner’s cell phone led detectives to her body in Belfair. Grisso pleaded not guilty today and is being held in lieu of $1,000,000 bail.
"Not many cases in real life are solved CSI style, but this one was," said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. "Sheriff’s detectives smartly combined technology and common sense."
On June 30, 2014, Grisso called police and reported Gardner missing. He told officers he saw Gardner that morning, but when he returned home from running errands, the house was unlocked and she was gone. Gardner’s keys, phone and wallet were still in the home. Grisso told officers the only item missing from the home was Gardner’s handgun. As officers spoke with Grisso, they noticed he had blood stains on his shoes. Officers collected the shoes and confirmed the stains were blood.
Days later, officers spoke to Grisso again and noticed blood drops near the seat adjustment button on the driver’s side of his pickup truck. Officers tested the drops and confirmed they were blood. In the console of Grisso’s truck, officers located the pistol that Grisso told them Gardner had taken with her when she went missing.
A forensic analysis of Gardner’s cell phone revealed three photos of flowers that were taken the day she went missing. Data from the photos provided detectives with the coordinates where they were taken. Detectives traveled to that location and discovered Gardner’s body. Grisso was unable to explain how Gardner’s phone could be in his home if it was used to take photos when and where Gardner was killed.
Due to the stage of decomposition, the medical examiner has not yet been able to determine Gardner’s cause of death.
Neighbors told officers they heard Grisso and Gardner arguing the day Gardner went missing. They said Grisso was telling Gardner to get out of the house, but Gardner refused to leave.
Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Communications and Public Information Coordinator
Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office