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Darnell Washington (Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department)

HERCULES -- A husband and wife arrested this week near Seattle were named Friday as suspects in the Oct. 5 slaying of retired Hercules schoolteacher Susie Ko.

After interviewing the suspects at a King County, Wash., jail and reviewing items found in the slain woman's stolen car, police consider Darnell Washington, 24, and Tania Washington, 25, to be suspects in Ko's death, said Hercules Detective Connie Van Putten.

Van Putten would not say how detectives linked the Washingtons to the slaying as the case remained under investigation Friday.

The couple was arrested Wednesday morning in SeaTac, a Seattle suburb, driving Ko's 2011 Subaru Outback. The husband and wife are also suspects in a monthlong crime spree that includes a jailbreak and the nonfatal shooting of a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy, authorities said.

Van Putten said detectives traveled to Washington to interview the couple Thursday.

Charges of murder and auto theft will be presented to the Contra Costa District Attorney's Office late next week, Van Putten said.

Police believe Ko, 55, was killed between 7 p.m. -- the last time neighbors saw her alive -- and 10 p.m. on Oct. 5. Her husband had called neighbors to check on his wife at their home in the 100 block of Ash Court after she did not pick him up from Oakland International Airport at 11 p.m.

She was found on the floor, with blood next to her body, near the front of the house in the quiet Hercules neighborhood. Her car was missing from the garage, along with a set of keys, police said.


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Ko and her husband, Kelvin Ko, 60, had moved to Idaho for his new job after their children were grown. They kept the house in Hercules and she commuted between the two homes, her children said.

Police in California and Washington are also trying to determine if the pair committed other robberies or carjackings as they traveled north from San Bernardino County.

A SeaTac police officer spotted the vehicle Wednesday morning and ran the license plate, a Washington state plate the pair apparently swapped for the Idaho plate on Ko's car.

When the plate came back as stolen, the officer attempted to stop the car. Instead, Tania Washington rammed the patrol car and led police on a chase. At one point, she climbed in the back seat and gave the wheel to her husband, who rammed several police cars before he was boxed in and police finally arrested the couple.

Authorities said that Darnell Washington had been in custody at San Bernardino County Jail awaiting trial on charges of robbery and receiving stolen property, when Tania helped him break out Aug. 28. The pair were approached by a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy on Sept. 2, when police said Darnell Washington shot the deputy with a shotgun. The deputy was wounded but survived the shooting.

A website for the King County Jail said that both Darnell and Tania Washington were being held without bail on suspicion of assault, vehicle theft, weapons violations and attempting to elude police.

Follow Natalie Alund at Twitter.com/nataliealund.