A 62-year-old Washington state man was charged with murder Monday after the remains of a couple he allegedly killed were found by teens in a suitca
A 62-year-old Washington state man was charged with murder Monday after the remains of a couple he allegedly killed were found by teens in a suitcase on a West Seattle beach in June, according to authorities.
Michael Lee Dudley, the man charged, had rented a room to the couple and was involved in a dispute with them regarding payment, according to the Seattle Times. He was also angry at them “for bringing potential criminal activity to the Ambaum home,” charging documents claimed. No motive was established.
Detectives had previously arrested him at the residence in Burien on Wednesday, a suburb just south of Seattle, police said. He was interviewed and then booked into the King County Jail, with bail set at $5 million, Q13 FOX of Seattle reported.
SEATTLE-AREA MAN, 62, HELD AFTER DISCOVERY OF COUPLE’S REMAINS INSIDE SUITCASE: AUTHORITIES
The remains were found by a group of teens who were on a kind of scavenger hunt. They filmed the suitcase that washed up near shore at Duwamish Head on June 19. They opened it while recording for a TikTok post and found plastic bags with the remains inside.
According to Seattle Police, the teens called authorities and waited several hours for officers to arrive. By then the suitcase was nearly washed out to sea by the ebbing tide.
Authorities would identify the remains as those of Jessica Lewis, 35, and Austin Wenner, 27, leaving family members in disbelief, Q13 FOX reported.
“I couldn’t believe that was their story, because I’d been it trying to look for them. … Not in a million years did I think that was them,” said Gina Jaschke, Jessica’s aunt. “I want to believe they didn’t suffer.”
Family members said Lewis and Wenner were a couple and had been together for years, reports said.
Detectives would learn the suitcases belonged to Dudley, who had been renting a room to the couple during the city’s quarantine period when they failed to pay rent, probable cause documents said. A group of men had also recently beat up the couple at the home, which a family member told police may have been due to “criminal fraud activity.”
SEATTLE TEENS CLAIM THEY FOUND HUMAN REMAINS STUFFED IN BAGS WHILE FILMING TIKTOK VIDEO
The Medical Examiner’s Office ruled their deaths as homicides and determined they both died of gunshot wounds, according to the paper. A witness moving into the home in June told police she opened the door to the upstairs bedroom and saw a hand sticking out from underneath some clothing, according to police reports.
“Let’s put it this way, his gun misfired and mine didn’t,” the witness reported Dudley as telling her, authorities said.
Police had obtained a search warrant for the home just weeks before the bodies were found after neighbors called police to report gunfire.
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Upon entering, they found bullet holes and blood inside one of the rooms. Authorities would later interview Dudley who failed to explain the gunfire or bullet holes and wasn’t sure whose blood was in the home, according to the Seattle Times.
Dudley was charged with two counts of second-degree murder on Monday, according to the paper. He is being held in lieu of $5 million bail.