Man Arrested for Deaths of Two People Found in a Suitcase on Seattle Beach

A 62-year-old man named Michael Lee Dudley has been arrested in connection with the murder of two people whose remains were discovered in suitcases on a West Seattle beach during the month of June.

Dudley was arrested in Burien, Washington—about 11 miles south of Seattle—on Wednesday evening. He's currently being held in King County Jail with his bail set at $5 million. He is expected to be formally charged on Monday.

The two suitcases discovered on the shore contained the remains of 35-year-old Jessica Lewis and 27-year-old Austin Wenner, a couple who had been dating for eight years. The suitcases belonged to Dudley.

Dudley had been renting a room in his home to the couple during the quarantine. He told police that he got into an argument with them when he told them he wanted them to move out when they could no longer pay rent.

Lewis was killed by multiple gunshot wounds and Wenner had killed by a single gunshot. It's believed that Dudley killed the couple on June 9 before their remains were discovered on the beach nine days later.

While neighbors reported hearing yelling and gunshots in Dudley's home to police, saying that they'd heard a male voice say, "Please don't do this, just let me leave." However, officers were unable to enter his residence when they first responded. When they returned later with a search warrant, they found bullet holes, bullet casings and blood in one of the rooms, The Seattle Times reported.

Police said Dudley couldn't explain where the bullets, bullet holes or blood in the room came from. Police wrote in their arrest report that the blue room in which the blood and bullets were found had been recently painted and cleaned.

Seattle beach suitcase murder
A Seattle beach gmc3101/Getty

Teens participating in a scavenger hunt discovered the victims' remains on June 19. They found a suitcase at Duwamish Head, a beach point on the southern side of Elliott Bay, opening it while filming a video for the TikTok video-sharing app. Inside the suitcase, they found black plastic trash bags that smelled foul.

The teens contacted the police and waited several hours for them to arrive. Police discovered a second suitcase and found human remains inside of the bags.

On a GoFundMe page managed by Lewis' aunt, Gina Jaschke, Jaschke wrote, "I believe they got the monster who did this to them.... I want to thank the Seattle Police... They never wavered on their professionalism and promise to help our family in any way they could. God bless them for being diligent through all of that and helping us finally be able to sleep at night."

Newsweek contacted the Seattle Police Department for comment.