A Brief History
In 1990, in collaboration with the Seattle Police Department, King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office and the King County Medical Examiner's Office, Virginia Mason’s Dr. Edward Rynearson and his staff started contacting every family who experienced a homicidal death in the greater Seattle area. Following a model of community outreach, we offered an initial home visit to make our engagement less stressful. At the end of that initial visit, we offered the family a more formal family assessment and intervention.
Dr. Rynearson, one of the founders of the Support Project for Unnatural Dying, has been a psychiatrist at Virginia Mason since 1972 and was one of the first psychiatrists to study and publish the clinical description of homicidal bereavement (1984). Though Dr. Rynearson is semi-retired from Virginia Mason, he continues to see clients who have experienced a homicide in their family because he provides a unique and valuable community service.
In 1990, the Support Project for Unnatural Dying was awarded Washington State Victims of Crime Assistance funding (VOCA), which has been renewed on an annual basis since that time. These funds have covered the expenses of providing direct services to co-victims of homicide.