From Belize to Soap Lake -- a murder or a suicide?

Image from King 5 news story

Image from King 5 news story

King 5

April 21, 2016
By Linda Byron
Twitter @lbyronseattle

It's a story that reads like a movie script--fights over money and land dividing an Eastern Washington family amidst allegations of murder, incest, and betrayal. And it’s all unfolding in a small rural town named for the mineral rich waters of the lake that give the city its name—Soap Lake.

It’s here that 44-year-old Tracy Nessl says she fell in love with Tim McNamara—a hardworking farmer with deep roots in the community.

“It’s like we were soul mates,” Nessl said.

McNamara loved his family and his apple orchard. He was also going through his third divorce in July 2012 when he bumped into Nessl. She lived in North Carolina, but was visiting her grandparents in Soap Lake. McNamara and Nessl struck up a relationship and were soon inseparable.

“It just fit, fit like a glove, it was just magical,” Nessl said. Nessl said she didn't care that Tim McNamara -- or "Mac", as she called him "-- was 22 years her senior. Nessl also didn't care that Tim was her father's brother--her biological uncle.

“I didn't know him (Tim) as an uncle, I didn't know the McNamara's very much. He was the man I fell in love with. Our souls connected," she said.

Nessl said as a child she had never been accepted by the McNamara’s because she was an illegitimate child who was rejected by her father.

But Nessl’s romantic relationship with her uncle did little to endear her to the family.

"It was hard to know what to do," said Jennifer Ralston, Tim McNamara’s daughter. “Definitely a shock factor,” said Caleb McNamara, Tim’s son.

Believing family and friends would never accept their romantic relationship, Tracy Nessl and Tim McNamara left Soap Lake in early 2013 and moved to Belize to begin a new life together. Tim McNamara leased out his Soap Lake farm and with a $240,000 insurance payout he received from a failed crop, then bought a new farm in Belize, where he and Tracy began building a bed and breakfast. And they got married.