Washington's Most Wanted viewer tips lead to arrest of suspect in rape, killing of dog in Thurston County

BREAKING:  A suspect is in custody in the brutal rape and murder of a dog known as “Justice” thanks to tips from Washington's Most Wanted viewers.  He was arrested today in Grays Harbor County, for the brutal sexual assault and murder of a dog known as “Justice” that occurred in March.

The suspect is a convicted felon whose criminal history includes Domestic Violence, Burglary and Controlled Substance charges.  He was taken into custody after an extensive investigation across several counties and is being held without bail.

The case aired on “Washington’s Most Wanted” last week and generated tips that ultimately led to the suspect. A mountain biker came across a dead dog hanging from a tree branch in the Summit Lake area of Thurston County, WA on March 21.

Veterinary necropsy proved that that the dog had been aggressively sexually assaulted before being hung, and dying of asphyxiation. Investigating Officer, Erika Johnson, working the case, had originally named the dog “Justice”.

Now we know that her name was Diamond.  Diamond was a young 3 year old Pitbull mix who worked as a therapy dog for the owner’s 8 year old son as an emotional companion.    Diamond was temporarily staying with the suspect, who was a relative of the owner, who offered to watch her while the owner found permanent housing that allowed dogs. Diamond had been living with the suspect for only about four days before he allegedly raped and killed her.

Pasado’s Safe Haven’s Investigator assisted Thurston County Joint Animal Services with their investigation of the case.  “Working with Officer Johnson is a pleasure, she is extremely passionate and a true leader in this field”, she said. “This investigation was handled extremely well and because of that a suspect is now in custody”, said Pasado’s Safe Haven lead Investigator.  “What this man allegedly did to Diamond is unspeakable; she suffered tremendously before she died.  This person is a danger to animals and people. This will forever be a case that is burned into my mind and my heart”, she concluded.  “Diamond will never be forgotten, and she will continue to drive me to pursue the monsters who abuse and neglect animals”.

Pasado’s Safe Haven is looking into the possibility of a memorial vigil to honor Diamond.

THURSTON COUNTY, Wash. -- The reward is now up to $25,000 for information leading to the conviction of whoever sexually assaulted and killed a dog that an animal cruelty officer has named ‘Justice.’

The female pit bull was found by a mountain biker hanging from a tree near Summit Lake off Highway 8 last week.

"What we're seeing here is scratch marks from where the dog was struggling,” said Officer Erika Johnson who was the first investigator on scene.

She says the dog’s feet were just barely touching the ground and it died of asphyxiation.

"This makes me furious,” said Officer Johnson.

She says The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) contacted her this morning and told her their members have been so upset by the case that they have donated an additional $12,000 bringing the total to $25,000.

The abuse is so heinous it’s outraged a veteran undercover investigator from Pasado’s Safe Haven who visited the scene to post reward flyers.

She keeps thinking about the dog that thought she was going on a walk in the woods.

“This kind of crime strikes a whole different cord in your soul. I can't even explain in words the anger and deep sadness this brings inside of  me,” she said.

They’ve collected DNA samples to run at the crime lab in hopes there is a match to someone.

"My guess is that they've probably had run-ins with the law before,” said Officer Johnson who added, "Just to think that this helpless dog went through so much at the hands of some monster. I think that anybody that's capable of committing a crime like this needs to be put behind bars.”

If you have any information on the suspect, contact Officer Johnson at (360) 352-2510.  If you wish to remain anonymous, you can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.