Suspect arrested after woman murdered, burned in Pierce County; abandoned baby found

KENT, Wash. – A suspect was arrested Wednesday night around 6:30 p.m. in connection with the death of a woman whose body was found by the side of a Pierce County road Tuesday.

Lance G.F. Rougeau was arrested without incident in Kent, the Pierce County Sheriff's Department said.

"We were led to this location with the belief that the suspect that they were searching for was on location," said Kent Police Commander Jarod Kasner. "As it turned out, we were able to determine that they were. We were able to get that person to come out and we have that person in custody."

Rougeau was in an apartment less than a mile from the Kent house where the victim lived

Earlier Wednesday, detectives identified Linda K. Sweezer as the victim and said they believe she was killed in a house in Kent. When the house was searched, detectives found a 4-month-old baby girl who had been abandoned there.

Pierce County Sheriff’s Det. Ed Troyer said it appeared that Sweezer’s body had been burned in an attempt to dispose of it before she was finally dumped on the side of the road near Lake Tapps.

The baby was found alone in a crib suffering from dehydration. She is OK after a stay in the hospital, and a relative will care for her.

The baby was Sweezer’s granddaughter. She was caring for the child and in the process of obtaining legal custody.

Sweezer was a member of the Kent Black Action Commission.

“Linda was a fantastic person, a sweet spirit, a wonderful loyal member of the Kent Black Action Commission," KBAC executive director Gwen Allen-Carston said. "She was a giving person. Her heart and spirit will be with us for a long time."

Troyer said detectives have found no link between Rogeau and Sweezer.

“There’s nothing we can find that can tie him to the mother of the child, to the victim, or to the infant,” Troyer said.

Detectives were looking for Sweezer’s car, a bronze 2003 Chevrolet Impala, license No. AGX9423.