Bethel police arrest woman in 2021 cold-case shooting of taxi driver

Bethel Police Department headquarters
Bethel Police Department headquarters (Katie Basile/KYUK)

A Bethel woman arrested last week is accused of shooting a taxicab driver in the face a year and a half ago. Bethel police say the assault was considered a “cold case,” but is one of a number of cases they are taking another look at.

On July 5, 2021, the Bethel Police Department responded to the shooting of Kusko Cab driver Myoung Keun Lee, during a carjacking in which his vehicle was stolen. The encounter, one of several violent crimes committed in recent years against Korean taxi drivers in Bethel, sent Lee to Seattle for facial reconstruction surgery.

The case was cold until recently.

Bethel’s new police chief, Leonard “Pete” Hicks, said that investigators went back over the case and followed up on some additional information. Then they issued a search warrant and arrested Maggie James on charges of felony assault, robbery and vehicle theft on Dec. 27.

“She’s being held at the correctional facility here. She will have her day in court to answer for the charges in this case,” Hicks said.

James has been assigned a public defender.

“Hopefully this will help the victim in this case have some sense of closure, or at least the beginning of that process,” Hicks said.

This cold case is not the only one that Bethel police are taking another look at. Hicks characterizes it as doing his due diligence to serve the community better.

“We know there are a lot of cases out there where people don’t get the follow up from us that they should have been given in the past, and we’re trying to correct that,” Hicks said. “And, you know, I would ask that anybody that has been a victim of a crime here recently that feel they don’t have the information, contact us and let us know. And just like in this case, it may be one of those that kind of slipped through the cracks that we can pull out, follow up on, and make something happen with.”

Bethel Police Sgt. Brandon Boyle said that he is hoping for the community’s support as they reexamine old cases.

“Police departments work best when they’re in partnership with their communities. And we’re really trying to stress that we have a new chief; we have a lot of changes within the department itself. And we just want to stress to the community that we are open to hearing from you, and that we are taking everything that comes to us very seriously,” Boyle said.

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