Kent middle school teacher fatally stabbed at her Tacoma home

31-year-old son charged with murder of Cedar Heights teacher Gail Gese, 66

Gail Gese. Courtesy Photo, Kent School District

Gail Gese. Courtesy Photo, Kent School District

Gail Gese, a teacher at Cedar Heights Middle School in the Kent School District, was found fatally stabbed Tuesday, Feb. 1 in her Tacoma home.

Michael Gese, 31, the son of Gail Gese, 66, is charged with first-degree domestic violence murder for allegedly stabbing his mother inside their home in the 800 block of South Anderson Street, according to Pierce County Superior Court documents.

Gale Gese has worked at Cedar Heights in Covington since 2011 and taught math, foods, fads and finance as well as coached track, according to Principal Erika Hanson.

“We are shocked and saddened by this news,” Hanson said in a voicemail to the Cedar Heights community on Feb. 2, according to a transcript of the call posted on Facebook. “Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers as they navigate such a devastating loss. Every life is precious and every loss, especially one so unexpected, is a tragedy.”

Hanson asked for staff and students to wear Washington State University gear or yellow sunshine clothing on Friday, Feb. 3 to school.

“Mrs. Gese was a lifelong Washington State fan and she was also the lead of our staff sunshine committee,” Hanson said.

Gese received a bachelor’s degree from Washington State University in Pullman and a teaching certificate from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, according to She earned a master’s degree in math from Minnesota-based Walden University.

“The impact of the sad and tragic loss will be felt differently with each child,” Hanson said in her message to parents. “As a family you will know best how to support your child as they navigate through grief, shock or fear of death.”

Hanson said anyone who needed assistance in helping their child through this can call the school at 253-373-7620. Grief counselors are available on campus to support students.

“We will keep you informed of any memorial or funeral plans as they are made available,” Hanson said. “We extend our support and sympathy to the family and to each member of our Timberwolf community.”

Community members on Facebook mourned the loss of Gese.

“So sad to hear of her tragic passing! She was a wonderful teacher and taught two of my children previously. Prayers for her loved ones,” said one woman.

“This is so sad,” said another woman. “My boys both had Mrs. Gese as a teacher, one currently. They and I loved her. Very saddened by the news.”

“There are no words,” said a friend. “Gail, we love you and we will miss your warm, loving, smile. Rest in Peace, dear friend.”

911 call

At about 6:40 a.m. Feb. 1, 911 dispatchers received a call from Gail Gese, according to a Tacoma Police Department statement. She asked for help for her son having a mental health crisis.

Officers received no response at the door, looked in the windows and saw Gese on the floor, according to police. Officers forced entry and started life-saving measures. She died on scene. No one else was located in the residence and she and her son were the only two individuals who resided at the residence at the time of the incident.

At the house, officers observed a stab wound to Gail Gese’s neck, according to court documents. She had several wounds on her hands that were likely defensive wounds. Officers reportedly found a serrated steak knife on the couch with blood on it.

Just after 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 1, officers observed Gese’s son in the 1100 block of Pacific Avenue. He was detained without incident, interviewed by detectives and booked into the Pierce County jail. Michael Gese sometimes lives at homeless encampments, according to court documents.

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