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Meanwhile, there was no official record of David Murray being dead. Unofficially - on Facebook - he was. A friend had posted a goodbye message and there were details announcing the date of a wake.

Last week an FBI agent visited The Mail Station. Lilly’s wife was behind the counter. He confronted her, calling her Mary. She told the federal agent she hadn’t been called that name in years. A nearly 30-year secret was unraveling.

He asked her where he could find Dennis Lilly. She told him that she thought he was dead. She also said she didn’t want to get in trouble.

She became upset and explained that she and Lilly had separated about nine years ago and he had moved to California. He returned to Gold Bar around 2009 with the news that he was dying from pancreatic cancer. He said he wanted to be with his family. The couple has an adult daughter.

There were records that David Murray was treated for cancer in Seattle.

He stayed in a travel trailer on the property, according to neighbors. His wife told the agent that Lilly didn’t want law enforcement to know about his death, which could lead to her being held accountable for helping him elude capture.

She told authorities that Lilly died sometime in June 2012. She claimed her daughter was there when he died, along with a family friend.

“Later, Amanda dug a hole in the back yard and buried Dennis after the others had departed the house,” court papers said.

She told her daughter that Lilly had been cremated and his remains were in a black urn at the house. Agents spoke with the couple’s daughter who denied that she was present when her father died. She said that her mother called her, saying that her father had died and his body had been removed by the funeral home.

The FBI contacted the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office, alerting investigators to possible remains outside Gold Bar house. Snohomish County major crimes detectives visited Amanda Murray at her business last week. She admitted again that she buried her husband in the back yard. She declined to say more and asked to speak with a lawyer.

When a reporter paid a visit to her business Wednesday morning, she politely but firmly declined to be interviewed.

Last week, detectives along with dogs specially trained to find human remains searched the property for several hours. Detectives located the remains beneath a woodpile in a shed. The skeletal remains were turned over to the medical examiner. It could take weeks for a formal identification, most likely using DNA.

“It appears that he was living an under-the-radar kind of life in Gold Bar,” Ireton said.

Indeed, said Ruth, the real estate broker.

“He was hiding in plain sight,” he said.

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