SEATTLE - Police arrested a man in connection with the shocking case of a couple whose dismembered remains were found on Alki Beach. Exactly two months after the murders were discovered, investigators zeroed in on the 62-year-old suspect.
The case has been a series of perplexing and horrifying events. It all started with a group of teenagers who made a gruesome discovery inside a suitcase, that later ended up on the app Tik Tok. Now, evidence found inside a Burien home paints a picture of a brutal crime, with a baffling possible motive.
“There has been countless nights where I just agonized over it,” says Gina Jaschke, the aunt of victim Jessica Lewis. The news of an arrest for the murders of 35-year-old Jessica Lewis and 27-year-old Austin Wenner comes as a huge relief for loved ones who worried they could be one of many families who never have answers. “I just want to thank the detectives for letting us be one of the lucky ones, hopefully, this animal is off the streets now,” says Jaschke.
But the arrest also brings gut-wrenching revelations about the murders. Court documents show the 62-year-old owner of a Burien home was arrested on Wednesday. The man admitted to renting the longtime couple a room.
According to documents, witnesses told police there was tension between the landlord and the couple because they struggled to come up with rent money. Another witness reported hearing fighting on the night of the believed killings, telling police they heard gunshots and then someone say quote “please don’t do this, just let me leave.” The neighbor called 911, and Burien police responded to the residence. But tragically nothing came of it, as documents say no one came to the door. Another witness came to the home later that same night, and reported seeing saw a bloody arm sticking out from under a pile of clothes.
Neighbors say they’re in shock over the news. One person said the 62-year-old was known for cutting the grass at the local church out of the goodness of his heart.
According to documents, when the suspect was confronted by investigators, he admitted to fighting with the couple and that they fell short on their rent, but denied anything else. The evidence, however, told another story. Documents show police found blood and bullet holes in the room where the couple stayed.
“I won’t really believe it’s over until there’s a conviction,” says Jaschke. The last two months have been a living nightmare for the families. One thing that really haunts them: the viral Tik Tok video that documents teens finding the suitcases with the couple’s dismembered remains inside. Jaschke says they’ve tried to get the video removed many times, but it’s still up. “For them to think their discovery is entertainment is just disgusting to me, just disgusting to me.”
With all the pain the family’s endured, they hope the journey to justice is swift.
“They were people, they were real people, who were very loved.”
The families say they’re forever grateful for the relentless hard work of the Seattle Police Department. But detectives say their work isn’t done. The case is ongoing, and anyone with information on the murders is urged to contact SPD. The suspect is being held on five million dollars bail and is expected to be charged by next week.