Police: W. Wash. nurse tries to hire hit man to kill husband

GIG HARBOR, Wash. - A local woman is under arrest after she allegedly tried to hire a hit man to kill her estranged husband, says the Pierce County Sheriff's Office.

The woman, identified as Karen E. Lofgren, 47, of Gig Harbor was arrested Thursday afternoon following a month-long investigation by sheriff's detectives. She was booked into Pierce County jail on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder.

Sgt. Jerry Bates of the Pierce County Sheriff's Office said detectives began their investigation last month after a witness contacted them to say that Lofgren was trying to hire a hit man to kill her husband.

Detectives learned that Lofgren, who works as a nurse at a local hospital, was in the midst of a contentious divorce and in a custody battle with her husband over the couple's two young children.

The witness, a federal probation officer, told detectives he supervised an offender who claimed he had been asked by Lofgren to help her "get rid of" her husband, according to Pierce County Superior Court documents.

Lofgren reportedly told the informant that her problems would all go away if her husband were gone. She allegedly offered the informant half of the $1 million insurance policy on her husband if he arranged to have her husband killed, court documents say.

A week ago, detectives set up covert surveillance and recorded several conversations between Lofgren and the informant. He told her he had arranged for a hit man to come from out of state. The informant gave Lofgren several opportunities to change her mind, but she persisted, according to court papers.

The informant discussed how the death should look and agreed on a "robbery gone bad" scenario, court records show.

On Tuesday, an undercover detective, posing as the hit man, met with Lofgren. She gave him diamond earrings valued at more than $5,000 as a down payment for the murder, prosecutors said.

Lofgren also provided a photo of her husband, his physical description and details of his daily schedule. She assured the detective she was serious about the plan and said she'd been thinking about it for three years, according to court documents.

Lofgren was taken into custody Thursday at 1:40 p.m. during a traffic stop. She made her first court appearance Thursday afternoon at the Pierce County Courthouse in downtown Tacoma.