Man Charged With Murder Of Couple Found Dismembered Inside Suitcase In Seattle

Julia Banim


Man Charged With Murder Of Couple Found Dismembered Inside Suitcase By TeensAustin Wenner/Facebook

A man has been charged with the murder of a couple whose remains were found in suitcases on a beach in West Seattle.

The dismembered bodies of Jessica Lewis, 35, and Austin Wenner, 27, were discovered on Alki Beach on June 19 by TikTok users who had been recording videos for a social media post. Footage of the discovery and their wait for the police has since been viewed across the world.

On Monday, August 24, the couple’s landlord Michael Lee Dudley, 62, was charged on two counts of second-degree murder, as per the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. He is now in jail with his bail set at $5 million.

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Dudley was taken into custody, questioned and and booked into the King County Jail after being arrested at his Burien residence on Wednesday, August 19. His arraignment has been scheduled for September 8 at the King County Courthouse, The Seattle Times reports.

Lewis and Wenner, who are said to have been in a relationship for approximately eight years, had lived together in a rented room in Dudley’s Burien house.

Both Lewis and Wenner were reportedly beaten and shot prior to being dismembered, with the killings believed to have occurred around June 9. The medical examiner’s office has determined that Lewis died from multiple gunshot injuries, while Wenner died of a single gunshot wound.

The precise motive for the killing is not yet fully understood. However, evidence suggests Dudley had been angry at the victims for allegedly not paying rent and for reportedly bringing potential criminal activity to the property, Westside Seattle reports.

suitcase remains@ughhenry/TikTok

Charging documents state:

This process would have taken a lot of time and effort and his willingness to take these extreme steps demonstrates the threat he poses to the community.

The atrocities inflicted on the bodies of the victims after their murder has greatly increased the anguish and suffering of their families.

Family members reportedly informed officers that Wenner had recently been ‘assaulted’ by a group of armed men who showed up at the house and proceeded to beat him and Lewis.

One family member told officers that he didn’t know what had led to the attack, but suggested that it might have been connected to ‘criminal fraud activity’.

This case is still under active investigation and further, as of yet unspecified, charges may be brought against Dudley.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.

Topics: News


The Seattle Times and 3 others
Julia Banim
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