In a truly horrific crime, a 62-year-old man from Washington is accused of murdering two young tenants. He then allegedly dismembered the bodies, packed them in suitcases, and threw them into the sea.
The remains of Jessica Lewis, a 35-year-old mother of four, and 27-year-old Austin Weber washed up on the shore near Seattle in June. Two teenagers filming a video for TikTok on the beach found the suitcases. The girls used a stick to open one of the suitcases, discovering the body parts wrapped in plastic trash bags.
“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,” court documents stated.
Forensic anthropologist Dr. Kathy Taylor told Seattle police that she believes the murderous landlord had help in disposing of the bodies. She says that the dismemberment seems to have been done by multiple people, given the different angles and tools used.
Investigators later confirmed that the couple had been shot to death. Jessica sustained multiple gunshots, while Austin died from a single bullet. The couple had been dating for eight years. They were renting a room in the Seattle area during the quarantine.
Michael Lee Dudley had been renting a room in his house to the couple. Allegedly, they were having trouble coming up with $1500 for that month’s rent. Dudley wanted them out. Neighbors heard an argument in the house, including a man pleading, “Please don’t do this. Just let me leave.”
Then they heard gunshots. Initially, officers were not able to enter the home, but they returned with a search warrant. Police found bullet casings as well as blood in the room where Jessica and Austin were staying. It appeared that Dudley had tried to clean up and even repainted the room to hide his crimes.
Dudley was arrested last week at his home. He’s currently being held on $5 million bail and will be arraigned on September 8th.
Horrifying additional details about Dudley emerged after his arrest. His own daughter took out a restraining order on him after an alleged decade of sexual abuse. Jessica Lewis’s aunt, Gina Jaschke, also claims that Dudley was a monster who terrorized the couple.
“Sometimes he would break their car so they couldn’t leave. He put trackers on people’s cars. Anytime he ever got in a dispute with anybody he would tell them to leave but try to lock them in the house. He killed the dog in front of them and left the carcass outside for 3 days to scare them. They had nowhere to go. That’s why they stayed there,” Jaschke explained.