Tukwila Police wait four days to report homicide with suspects still on the loose

It took Tukwila Police more than 72 hours to notify the community that someone had been murdered in their town and found in a very public area, leaving many with one question: why? 

Tukwila Police reported on Thursday that the body of 34-year-old Nick Hokema was found in the Southcenter Mall parking lot. 

However, officers found Hokema four days before announcing the homicide investigation.

Word of the crime had been spreading on Facebook. Hokema’s partner, Nicole Sharkody, asked the community for help on a post when Hokema did not return after his overnight cab driver shift. 

FOX 13 News spoke to Sharkody throughout the week about the incident, and we reached out to Tukwila Police on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for more information and to comment. However, they did not call us back.

On Tuesday, about 36 hours after police found Hokeman in the parking lot, they released a message on social media reporting officers had found an "unconscious male" and it was being investigated as a "suspicious death."

Two days later, on Thursday afternoon, the department finally reported the incident as a homicide.

On Facebook, community members also asked the police department why they waited so long to report the crime.

Finally, on Friday, FOX 13 News got answers from the department.

The department said they delayed reporting the vehicle description and giving out pictures because they did not want the suspect to destroy it. So, it was about preserving evidence. 

ALSO READ: Cab driver killed while working, body dumped in Southcenter Mall parking lot

The reason is less understandable that the department delayed alerting the public about the murder.

The autopsy results indicate there were obvious signs of violence on the victim’s body. The medical examiner said Hokema had been stabbed multiple times. 

Nevertheless, the department says detectives did not want to jump to conclusions and waited for the official cause of death before making their homicide investigation public.

We also know Hokema’s cab was stolen during the incident. 

The Tukwila Police Department is now asking for the community’s help to solve the case.

The only clue is Hokema’s stolen cab.

Tukwila Police say it is a red 2012 four-door Toyota Camry with "RediCab" markings.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or reach out to Tips@TukwilaWa.gov regarding case: 24-304.