Coupeville deputy marshal arrested and held on $30,000 bail

Hodges Gowdey appears in Island County Superior Court Friday. - Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times
Hodges Gowdey appears in Island County Superior Court Friday.
— image credit: Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times

A deputy with the Coupeville Marshal’s Office was arrested Friday in connection with a 2007 incident in which he allegedly handcuffed his former girlfriend on the side of a dark road during a fight, according to an Oak Harbor police report.

Hodges Gowdey III, a well-known and longtime deputy marshal, appeared in Island County Superior Court Friday afternoon, shackled and dressed in an orange jail outfit.

Judge Vickie Churchill found that probable cause existed to hold him in custody on suspicion of unlawful imprisonment and witness tampering.

She set his bail at $30,000 at the request of Prosecutor Greg Banks.

Gowdey, 44, was placed on paid administrative leave from the marshal’s office. He was the last remaining deputy in the department, which is being taken over by the Island County Sheriff’s Office on March 1.

As a result of the loss of Gowdey, Coupeville Marshal Lance Davenport asked the sheriff to immediately begin policing the community. Sheriff Mark Brown agreed.

The allegations against Gowdey arose from a background investigation conducted by Undersheriff Kelly Mauck.

Under state law, Gowdey was guaranteed a job with the sheriff’s office, pending the outcome of the background investigation, when it took over the marshal’s office. Gowdey submitted his letter of intent Jan. 30.

Coincidentally, Mauck had conducted an internal investigation for the Coupeville marshal in 2007 after witnesses heard him and his girlfriend having a loud argument outside the marshal’s office — while he was on duty, according to the police report.

So when Mauck started the background investigation this month, he looked into the old case and developed additional information.

The investigation was then passed to Detective Sgt. Teri Gardner with the Oak Harbor Police Department for a possible criminal case.

The woman claimed that Gowdey went after her in his patrol car on the night of the fight. She said he called her on her cell phone and told her to pull over on the side of Madrona Way, which she did, Gardner wrote.

Gowdey allegedly screamed at her to get out of the car and punched the car, leaving a dent. She told him that she “couldn’t take it” and she might as well drive off the road.

Gowdey allegedly pulled her out of the car and took her to the trunk.

Gowdey then “leaned her over the trunk like she was being arrested, and handcuffed her, telling her that since she was suicidal, he was taking her into protective custody,” Gardner wrote.

He let her go after 10 minutes.

The woman said Gowdey later told her he was being investigated and that she would be interviewed. She claimed that he coached her not to say anything about the Madrona Way incident and not to volunteer anything, the report states.

Gardner also interviewed Gowdey about the allegation. She wrote that he admitted he may have dented her car in the incident, but he didn’t remember if he handcuffed her.

Gowdey said he didn’t think she was suicidal, the report states.

Gowdey denied coaching the woman about what to say in the internal investigation.

Friday, Banks explained in court that the statute of limitations would have otherwise run out if not for a law that extends it to 10 years for public officials who commit such crimes in connection with a public office.

In this case, Gowdey was on duty as a police officer.


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