New revelations in Jeremy Peck case: Search warrant unsealed

July 12, 2011 at 4:28 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 29 Comments

(May 1, 2011, WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

One morning back in May, we published a short story with two photos (including the one above) of Seattle Police investigators on the “low bridge” – which they had shut down for a short time to gather evidence. No one would comment about which case they were investigating.

This afternoon, we know what case it was: They were investigating the disappearance and death last winter of 24-year-old West Seattle resident Jeremy Peck. You will likely recall the huge search for him in early January, and then the discovery of his body on a Bainbridge Island beach:

(January 2011 photo by Tristan Baurick/Kitsap Sun; used with permission)
He was reported to have been last seen the morning of December 24th at the Admiral Pub.

Seattle Police picked up the investigation, which has been classified only as a “suspicious death.” After doing an autopsy, and receiving toxicology reports weeks later, the King County Medical Examiner told WSB they might never know how he died, unless new evidence emerged.

But now, SPD confirms that a search warrant has been unsealed, and we have obtained the documents including that search warrant, which was for a West Seattle residence. The narrative accompanying the search warrant details why police have reason to believe that Peck may have been killed, including a tip about two men seen putting something heavy into the water from the “low bridge” not long after the time that Peck was last seen. Police tracked down a car linked to that sighting. After it was tested for blood, the documents say, DNA testing matched it to Peck’s blood.

The search warrant was sought in early June. Police tell WSB no one has been arrested, and our check of both court records and the jail register for the two men mentioned in the warrant, so far, does not indicate any charges have been filed either. (WSB policy is to generally not identify suspects until they are charged.) “We have been investigating from day 1, and we continue to investigate,” SPD Sgt. Sean Whitcomb tells WSB. He reiterated that for now, this remains a “suspicious death” and has not so far been classified as a murder.

29 Comments

  1. Good. It’s amazing what people think they can get away with – and they seem to always get caught. I think people who loved him deserve to have the people responsible brought to justice and I hope they do.

    Comment by hope — 4:30 pm July 12, 2011 #

  2. Am I missing something? Why are you not attaching a copy of the warrant?

    Comment by NotMe — 4:50 pm July 12, 2011 #

  3. Our policy is only to upload court documents if they involve only the names of people that have been charged. And even then, if there’s a witness name, or a victim who hasn’t been publicly identified, we won’t use the document. Lots of names in this warrant. Very seldom are court documents usable in this context; most if not all the ones you’ll find on our site are for civil actions such as the “Hole” lawsuits and rulings. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 4:53 pm July 12, 2011 #

  4. I think about this story often. Full of intrigue. I hope they find answers.

    Comment by shed22 — 4:54 pm July 12, 2011 #

  5. I wish you could redact the names and upload it!

    Comment by Elizabeth — 5:00 pm July 12, 2011 #

  6. the wheels of justice may be slow at times, but it’s nice to see that they didn’t just give up on this.

    Comment by JanS — 5:01 pm July 12, 2011 #

  7. I applaud WSB for not posting until charges are complete. Says a lot about WSB’s care for privacy in journalism. Counter that to Rupert Murdoch’s latest ways of journalism….

    Comment by Mike — 5:03 pm July 12, 2011 #

  8. What a bombshell. The most recent news I had heard about this story didn’t seem to offer much optimism that this case would be solved. I’m delighted to hear that, because of a vigilant witness and good police work, justice will apparently be done.

    Comment by cjboffoli — 5:11 pm July 12, 2011 #

  9. Oh this is very sad. But glad they know who did it.

    Comment by A — 6:30 pm July 12, 2011 #

  10. I know one of the guys SPD suspect. It’s shocking but it’s someone I’ve known for 17 years. He was Jeremy’s “friend.” it makes me sad.

    Comment by Sad — 8:29 pm July 12, 2011 #

  11. Scary… that there are potential killers right here – and we don’t know who they are. In desperation who knows what they could be capable of, particularly now. I’m surprised that even with the evidence against them (blood in their vehicle and a witness to them dumping a body), that they are aren’t in jail without bail, charged with some sort of murder indictment.

    I hope both of the disgusting perpetrators of his death are put behind bars for life. God rest Jeremy’s soul.

    Comment by Frogger — 8:57 pm July 12, 2011 #

  12. I am confused.
    -
    The search warrant is not confidential.
    -
    WSB may choose not to include names not charged in a story, but why deny an actual public document link that is referred to in the story?
    -
    Rupert Murdoch’s problems are related to illegal activities, not publishing legal public documents.
    -
    “Sad’s” comment makes the point that other people know who the suspects are, setting up a an interesting relationship between those who know something (like Sad) and WSB and all those who access the warrant.

    Comment by Nulu — 9:24 pm July 12, 2011 #

  13. There is no “actual public document link.” To procure these documents, you have to pay for them, which I did. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:40 pm July 12, 2011 #

  14. Such a sad case… but it eases my soul, even if only a little, to know that in the end the monsters who are responsible for this will be judged and they will pay.

    Comment by breezygirl — 9:45 pm July 12, 2011 #

  15. I applaud WSB’s commitment to judicious journalism.

    Comment by shed22 — 10:24 pm July 12, 2011 #

  16. @Nulu- If you want to see a copy of the warrant, then go and procure it yourself. Obviously you’ve never worked in the legal field or something similar. You can’t just click a few buttons and get information without a price. It’s not WSB’s job to provide you with all the documents you want to see for free. WSB is trying to protect people by not spreading slander (before anyone knows if the “accused” on your warrant you want to see is guilty or not).

    Also, “Sad” did not say they knew something as you said “‘Sad’s” comment makes the point that other people know who the suspects are, setting up a an interesting relationship between those who know something (like Sad) and WSB and all those who access the warrant.’”.

    Just because “Sad” knows one of the guys that the Seattle Police Department suspects, does not mean that “Sad” knows anything else. I’ve known Jeremy for 15 years, I’ll never stop missing him. And yes, I DO want closure and to know what happened, but just because someone knows “one of the guys SPD suspects” doesn’t mean they know how he was killed. Maybe you should do a bit more research before your next post.

    Comment by D — 5:56 am July 13, 2011 #

  17. My thoughts are with his friends and family. What a horrible thing to happen.

    Comment by cherylc — 9:02 am July 13, 2011 #

  18. i think everyone is upset/confused/disturbed about what happened, no need to jump downs someones throat…

    Comment by justiceprevails — 10:42 am July 13, 2011 #

  19. Police cannot comment further on what’s in the search-warrant documentation, so unfortunately it’s impossible to tell what happens from here. No arrests, no charges. The documents did not give ANY hint of a possible motive – except for one passage in which a person interviewed by police says the two people on whom the investigation seems to be focused were heard discussing something about “disrespect” early the same morning, December 24th, but that was all police were told was overheard about the conversation, nothing about context or a mention of Jeremy. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:56 am July 13, 2011 #

  20. Wow….

    If Nulu wants to see a copy of the warrant, he/she doesn’t have to go and “procure it himsel/herself.” He/she can do what any other human being can do, and ask to see it. Whether, Nulu has ever worked in the legal field is irrelevant. A concerned citizen trying to procure information about an unfortunate crime shouldn’t warrant hostility. I re-read Nulu’s post, and he/she wasn’t being rude, just inquisitive.

    Also, I don’t understand the rant regarding the comments made by “Sad.” All they said was that they know one of the suspects. They remarked on the irony that it was someone labeled as a friend. There’s no reason to contest or criticize the validity and/or content their claims.

    I just don’t understand the negativity and hostility towards others in this thread. Rest assured, you’re not the only one who knew and cared for J.P. (or Uncle John, Bobby Jo, etc.). Any contribution of, or inquiry for information regarding what happened to Jeremy should be supported, not critiqued.

    Comment by West Seattle Native — 11:27 am July 13, 2011 #

  21. Thanks WSB, for the follow up. It’s a relief to know we have a reliable professional journalist (i.e., someone who “knows the rules” of reporting) and is on the trail of this deeply disturbing tragedy.

    Comment by JoAnne — 11:34 am July 13, 2011 #

  22. @ West Seattle Native…great, thoughtful comment (as usual).

    Comment by MB — 3:36 pm July 13, 2011 #

  23. frogger is right. get them off the street now. justice for jeremy and justice for all.

    Comment by wolfbain — 3:36 pm July 14, 2011 #

  24. Typical media doing a disservice for the public. It’s public info that the media has, but they feel they are superior to everyone else and want to sit on this public information.

    There is no sense in having media, if you force everyone to go to the courthouse and investigate this case for themselves. People don’t have time to do these things because they work during business hours. Do your job media and release the names!

    Comment by Showboater — 5:36 pm July 14, 2011 #

  25. Showboater, we are doing our job. Our job includes reporting news responsibly and ethically. Publishing names of people who haven’t even been arrested isn’t responsible or ethical. You are free to disagree, but this is how we operate, and how every news organization I have worked with for 30-plus years, print/broadcast/Internet, has operated. Anyone can be accused or suspected of anything, but to arrest, and then charge, someone requires law enforcers to believe they have enough evidence to say they think somebody committed a crime. If the law enforcers don’t believe they have enough evidence yet to make an arrest, why should these people’s names be published? What if they didn’t do it? What if it was an accidental death? If you believe it’s a matter of public safety, take it up with the police and prosecutors and ask why no arrests or charges yet. The warrants were served more than a month ago. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 6:26 pm July 14, 2011 #

  26. Names aren`t what we need right now. We need some arrests!Their puckass names will follow.

    Comment by wolfbain — 11:15 pm July 14, 2011 #

  27. So they have the car, they have found JP’s blood in the car along with a broken door handle, but they haven’t made any arrests because the owner of the car “lent” it out to someone during December?
    This is just what I read and find it interesting that it just stops there. Especially if these warrants were served over a month ago? I feel like arrests should have been made to the person that was in possession of the car that night?

    Granted, I am sure it is more complicated than that. I am just trying to understand.

    Comment by Confused — 11:13 pm July 18, 2011 #

  28. Confused – the one thing the search warrant-related paperwork does not suggest, which likely figures into the time elapsing here, is what evidence police might have that they think definitively ties a particular person to whatever happened in the car that led to blood that DNA suggests is Jeremy Peck’s. According to what has been made public so far (which certainly would not be the entirety of the documentation in the case), they have:

    -a guy who called police in late January, a month after seeing two guys in a white BMW throwing something over the railing of the bridge, to say he had heard about this case and wanted to report what he had seen a month earlier

    -various people who saw Jeremy on the night/morning in question with the two men on whom the investigation seems to be focused

    -the guy who owns the white BMW telling police that one of those two men was driving the car during December because he was going to buy it, but he changed his mind

    -police discovered what looked like blood in the car, had it tested, and a DNA profile matched that of DNA taken from Jeremy’s body during the autopsy

    -cell phone records from the morning of December 24th showed activity linked to the phone of the other man from a tower in the Luna Park

    Again, I would bet this is only part of what police have found. But we can’t assume they have found something more than circumstantial evidence until and unless there is either more documentation, or something said publicly by investigators – which isn’t likely to happen until and unless there are arrests and/or charges. They would have to “build a case,” as the jargon goes.

    Comment by WSB — 12:26 am July 19, 2011 #

  29. This case is entirely confusing and enraging. I have followed every detail of this case since it’s inception. Where is the OUTRAGE??? Jeremy Peck’s life has/had just as much value as say, “Laci Peterson’s” (the pregnant woman murdered by her husband). Who are scum bags who did this???????

    Comment by What??? — 10:14 am July 20, 2011 #

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