Body found in Poulsbo identified as missing Port Orchard man

NW Commerce St. - Google Maps
NW Commerce St.
— image credit: Google Maps

POULSBO — A body found in the woods near NW Commerce Street in Poulsbo on Feb. 26 was identified as a missing Port Orchard man.

Philip A. Burlew, 39, was reported missing by his father Jan. 6. Burlew’s father told police he believed his son was suicidal and may have had a gun. Volunteers from the Washington Explorer Search and Rescue team, coordinated by the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Department, found Burlew's body around 9:40 a.m on Sunday. The county coroner ruled his death a suicide.

A K-9 unit and volunteers first searched for Burlew on Jan. 14 without success. Sheriff's spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson said it is standard procedure to conduct a second search, and waited until the weather was warmer to organize a search and recovery. Wilson said the family had been contacted and "advised of steps taken all along."

Burlew had reportedly been involved in a solo car crash near Viking Avenue Jan. 3. He called 911 around 1:15 a.m., reporting he was uninjured, but his car was on fire after hitting a guy wire. Deputies found a car, belonging to Burlew's father, off Viking Avenue near the private entrance to Snider Park. Deputies attempted to find the man, including attempting to “ping” his cellphone, without success.

Burlew was found 100 yards from where he had called 911 on Jan. 3, in a small patch of woods between NW Commerce Street and North Kitsap Auto Rebuild. Deputies recovered a small-caliber gun and a cell phone under the body. Coroner Greg Sandstrom said Burlew had been deceased since the time he had been reported missing.

According to the sheriff's missing person investigation, Burlew was living with his aunt in Port Orchard. His family had posted flyers around Kitsap and in Port Townsend, and had received a few unsubstantiated reports of Burlew's sighting.



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