Woodinville High School teacher Prudence Hockley's death last week has been ruled a homicide, and police on Wednesday took into custody a man she had been dating.
According to the Seattle Police Department, the 55-year-old Hockley stepped outside her home in the 300 block of NW 74th St. in Seattle around 11 p.m. Dec. 24 to talk to the 48-year-old man. According to the police report, witnesses heard voices, then a loud thump; Hockley’s 13-year-old daughter went outside and found her mother unconscious on the ground at the side of the house. The suspect was seen walking away from Hockley. He then drove away.
Hockley was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with a life-threatening head injury. Police detectives were notified Dec. 25 that Hockley had died from her injuries. The King County Medical Examiner’s Office said Wednesday that the cause of death was blunt-force trauma to the head.
The suspect was taken into custody Wednesday and is being interviewed by detectives. He is expected to be booked into the King County Jail. The investigation is ongoing.
Hockley joined the faculty of Woodinville High School in the 1997-1998 school year. She was a native of New Zealand who did graduate studies at the University of Canterbury and the University of Washington. A memorial Facebook page for her has been created; find it here.
Woodinville High School principal Kurt Criscione released a statement Wednesday:
"It is a sad day for our Woodinville High School community. Ms. Hockley was an extraordinary teacher with a dynamic personality and teaching style. We will miss her greatly. Our thoughts are with Prudence's family at this difficult time."