Washougal police ask public to help solve Sandra Ladd murder

Crime Stoppers of Oregon offers reward for information leading to the arrest of Washougal grandmother's killer

Washougal resident Sandy Ladd, (second from right) is pictured with her grandchildren, Emma Sasse (left), Ben Sasse (second from left) and Hunter Sasse (right). Ladd, a longtime Washougal School District employee, was found murdered in her home on June 14, 2020. Police are seeking tips from the public. (Contributed photo courtesy of Mikaela Sasse)

The Washougal Police Department is asking the public to help solve the murder of Sandra Ladd, a Washougal woman found stabbed to death in her home in mid-June.

The police department has partnered with Crime Stoppers of Oregon to offer a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest of Ladd’s killer.

“We want to make sure that we have all of the information that we can possibly get,” Washougal Police Chief Wendi Steinbronn said. “Sometimes people see something or know something that they don’t think is relevant. We want to draw that out. We don’t want people to worry about feeling silly. We want to hear about it, no matter if it turns out to be relevant or not. Some people who don’t know if their information is valuable or not might not be aware of the investigation. We want to raise the profile and keep the case fresh in people’s minds.”

Ladd, 71, was found dead in her home, located on the 1900 block of 41st Street in Washougal, on June 14. Police later said Ladd, a longtime Washougal School District employee, mother of four and grandmother of six, was the victim of homicidal violence and died after being stabbed in her torso.

Steinbronn said that the investigation is “active and ongoing,” but declined to provide further details.

Vancouver resident Mikaela Sasse, Ladd’s daughter, told the Post-Record she did not want to say anything that might jeopardize the investigation but said Ladd’s family members “just need answers and need someone to come forward and provide any information that will help bring us closure.”

Ladd was born in Portland, graduated from Washougal High School in 1967, earned an associates degree from Clark College and attended the University of Washington. She worked as an administrative assistant and receptionist for the Washougal School District from 1987 until 2015. During that time, she worked at Cape Horn-Skye Elementary School and assisted with the school district’s special services and summer meal programs. Ladd also was active with Washington’s Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee, which trains classified school staff members around the state.

Ladd worked at a Burgerville in east Vancouver from 1996 until she was furloughed in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ladd is survived by four children — Sasse, Jaymes Ladd of Yacolt, Ryan Ladd of Washougal and Trevor Paul Ladd of Washougal; and six grandchildren. She was divorced and lived with her son Trevor at the time of her death, according to Camas resident Rebecca Vrandenburg, a family friend.

“Not being able to see her beautiful face since June has been an excruciating, heartbreaking pain that doesn’t go away,” Sasse said. “Not a moment goes by that we don’t think about her. Her fashion, smell, favorite stores, habits, sayings, places, pictures, holidays — everything reminds me of her. This has been such a nightmare for the family, but we have to keep reminding ourselves that we have to keep faith that answers will come and we have to try to stay positive, which is harder than you can ever imagine.”

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