Tacoma's 10th Homicide of 2007 – Zina Linnik

I was truly hoping I would not have to write about Zina Linnik. Zina was twelve years old. She was Russian. She was enjoying fireworks in an alley on the Fourth of July when a gray van pulled up and someone pulled her inside. She screamed and her parents heard her. By the time her father got out to the alley, the van was already leaving the alley. He got a brief look at the driver and got part of the license plate.


In the beginning, Police had difficulty communicating with Zina’s family because her parents did not speak English. Zina’s older brother did though. So he translated what his father knew.


In the days that followed, Tacoma police canvassed the neighborhood again and again. They posted fliers. They did press conferences. At one point, they set up a roadblock in the neighborhood and asked every car that passed if they had seen anything. Soon, they began to focus on a convicted sex offender from Thailand. He had a gray van and admitted to changing the plates. They held him on charges of not registering as a sex offender. Upon further investigation, they found he was supposed to have been deported. And the more they questioned him, the more this ‘person of interest’ was beginning to look like a suspect.


Following a tip, they searched Tiger Mountain by Highway 18, twenty miles or so from where she was taken. On days that reached into the mid-90s, people searched trails trying to find any clue to the disappearance of a pretty blonde girl named Zina.


Thursday evening, police announced the discovery of Zina’s body ‘somewhere in Pierce County’. They said they got the information from the sex offender already in custody. One of Tacoma’s more publicized homicide cases was solved.


One of the articles I read included a quote from a local saying, “How many sex offenders from other countries are molesting our kids?” This is arguably the dumbest thing that has been said about this case. As if it would have been better had it been an American sex offender.


When a tragedy like this occurs, it’s an easy thing to try to find someone to blame. However, the death of Zina Linnik is not due to an immigration problem. It is due to the actions of a clearly diseased mind. Personally I do not hold to the idea that someone is ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’. I truly believe that everyone is responsible for their own actions. No rational person would kill a twelve-year-old girl. Anyone knows that. Psychiatrists are not needed to tell us that this guy has something wrong upstairs. This is why he should be locked up for a very long time in a very bad place.


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