Bellingham superintendent expresses ‘profound loss’
BELLINGHAM — A 58-year-old woman found dead on Dec. 26 was the principal at Sunnyland Elementary School, and her husband was put under hospital guard with an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to authorities.
The woman’s identity was given by the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office on Dec. 27 as Lynn Heimsoth, and that was confirmed by an online posting of Greg Baker, superintendent of Bellingham Public Schools.
“We are heartbroken by this news,” Baker wrote. “Her death is a profound loss to our Sunnyland community, our school district and to our extended community. Lynn was a passionate, equity-driven instructional leader. She loved kids to the core and always kept students’ needs at the center of her work.”
The husband, Kevin Heimsoth, 56, is expected to face formal criminal charges, as the case remains under investigation, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Deputies responded to a condominium complex in the 900 block of Marine Drive, outside Bellingham city limits, at about 10:28 a.m. Thursday in response to a reported murder-suicide, the office said in a press release. The woman was found dead from an apparent gunshot wound. The man, also in the apartment, appeared to have sustained a self-inflicted gunshot wound and was transported to the hospital under Sheriff’s guard.
A dog and a cat were also found dead from gunshot wounds. Baker said Lynn Heimsoth always had at her side at the school Sukha, a therapy dog.
Heimsoth had been the principal at Sunnyland since fall 2017. Prior, she was principal of Shoultes Elementary School in Marysville and worked for the Bremerton, North Kitsap and South Kitsap school districts as an elementary teacher and instructional leader.
Members of the Bellingham district’s counseling and support team will be available for students at Sunnyland Elementary, 2800 James St. on Monday, Jan. 6, when school resumes after winter break, Baker said, and other counseling resources and personnel are available already now for those wanting it.
“Our thoughts and support are with Lynn’s family and friends during this very hard time, as well as our Sunnyland families and all colleagues affected,” Baker said.
Also, confidential assistance for persons with questions regarding domestic violence is available through Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services at 360-715-1563.
No details of a potential memorial service had been set.