FOLLOWUP: What investigators are, and aren’t, saying about the human remains found off Alki Avenue

(WSB photo, Friday)

Lots of questions today about the story we first reported on Friday evening, human remains found off Duwamish Head. As promised, we’ve followed up. First, the biggest question: No information yet on whose remains, or how they died – that’s up to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office, and we just checked with them – they told us it may take several days, and they have nothing to report right now. As for Seattle Police, we’ve talked with them too. Their next steps depend on what the ME’s Office determine. But for now, it is a homicide investigation.

We also asked SPD about the TikTok videos that surfaced over the weekend, as discussed in the comment section following our Friday report. Det. Mark Jamieson says SPD “is aware” of the videos, and while they can’t attest to authenticity, he can say that the report does show the initial call was for “a suitcase that smelled really bad,” which is the circumstance presented in the videos (police previously had not mentioned a suitcase, only plastic bags). And yes, as noted in one video, he says, police did not arrive for two hours – they had no officers available to send when the call first came in around 2 pm; they arrived around 4 pm. On TikTok, the teens say the suitcase was on the rocks but then the tide started taking it, and its bagged contents, away.

(Side note: The gruesome nature of the case has attracted attention from around the world; we’ve received calls from a British tabloid and a nationally syndicated TV show.)

92 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: What investigators are, and aren't, saying about the human remains found off Alki Avenue"

  • Alki Wanderer June 22, 2020 (2:52 pm)

    No suitcase mentioned in the past because they didn’t want to acknowledge their lack of urgency to a human remains call. Thanks for staying on them with the tik tok evidence. Too focused on Cap Hill?? Whatever.

    • Don Amick June 22, 2020 (4:32 pm)

      They are practicing their POST “defunding” response times….  

      • heartless June 22, 2020 (7:11 pm)

        You’re SO close to getting it right.  We need defunding because police are asked to do too much.  If we had other agencies that could answer calls like this, the response time would be much faster.  It’s not like cops are out dealing with violent crime–that’s under 5% of their time–it’s that they are bogged down with doing everything else under the sun, even jobs they’ve never been trained for at all.  

        • ACG June 22, 2020 (8:15 pm)

          Ummmm… exactly what is the “other agencies that could answer a call like this” that is appropriate to respond to a dead human in plastic bags, stuffed into a suitcase?????  A grief counselor to offer a sympathetic ear to the suitcase luggage tag?

          • AMD June 22, 2020 (9:20 pm)

            The Medical Examiner, or personnel from their office.  The beat cops that respond to the call are middle men who see what’s going on and call the right people in (the ME and CSI techs, or SPU if it’s just the world’s smelliest gym shorts).  There’s no reason the ME couldn’t make that call themselves when they show up.  There’s no crime in progress and the Medical Examiners have LOTS of training on how to handle evidence and dead bodies (more than the patrol officers that respond to the 911 call).

          • mads June 23, 2020 (9:33 pm)

            Do you even realize how dumb you people sound? Saying this isn’t a crime or that someone besides the police could handle this? It’s a f–//// suitcase filled with human remains that was thrown in a lake or whatever it was. That’s an INVESTIGATION. The medical examiner can’t go out looking for a murderer, and a grief counselor is good for consulting the family and expressing their sympathy. Some towns, cities or whatever are just short handed and a lot of the cops now are quitting because they’re terrified. I wish some of you could experience what some of these police officers are going through. Go ahead and see if you can solve this murder without any of the necessary equipment. 

          • NoplacelikehomePNW June 24, 2020 (4:21 pm)

            lols. lake. that’s puget sound, the salish sea….. it’s saltwater and the bags/body parts/suitcase were found in/at the salt water at the head of the Duwamish river.

          • WSB June 24, 2020 (4:49 pm)

            It’s not called Duwamish Head because it’s the Duwamish River’s headwaters. They’re a bit to the southeast. It’s a head*land*.

          • NoplacelikehomePNW June 24, 2020 (4:52 pm)

            thank you for the correction…. logic in me knows that, functional thought failed me. 

          • NoplacelikehomePNW June 24, 2020 (4:24 pm)

            and this is the information from the King County medical examiners office explaining what exactly they do (spoiler alert, this incident is right in their wheelhouse)The purpose of the Medical Examiner’s Office is to bring trained medical evaluation to the investigation of deaths that are of concern to the public health, safety, and welfare of the community.The Medical Examiner’s Office investigates sudden, violent, unexpected, and suspicious deaths that occur in King County.Deaths that come under the jurisdiction of the Medical Examiner’s Office include, but are not limited to, the following circumstances:

            • Persons who die suddenly when in apparent good health and without medical attendance within thirty-six hours preceding death.
            • Circumstances which indicate death was caused in part or entirely by unnatural or unlawful means.
            • Suspicious circumstances.
            • Unknown or obscure causes.
            • Deaths caused by any violence whatsoever, whether the primary cause or any contributory factor in the death.
            • Contagious disease.
            • Unclaimed bodies.
          • nimakokaaz June 25, 2020 (12:07 pm)

            the police don’t have the equipment, though, as several people have now pointed out to you people. the cops do not have the equipment. cops do not examine the evidence or pick up the body. police are nothing but a step IN THE WAY of the people who DO the work being able to do it, cos they can’t act until the police call them in. do you understand? nobody NEEDS the police to solve crimes, all the police do is act as storage agents for evidence, and when it comes to Black and Indigenous victims the evidence is often thrown away, “lost,” or tampered with cos they’re beat cops trained to be corrupt white supremacists. to repeat again: POLICE ARE NOT THE ONES WHO EXAMINE EVIDENCE, THEY ARE THE ONES WHO DECIDE WHETHER OTHER AGENCIES, AGENCIES THAT ACTUALLY DO THE WORK YOU CREDIT TO POLICE, ACTUALLY EVER SEE THE EVIDENCE AT ALL. hope this helps you with your weird misunderstanding of what goes into police work.

          • Grigor June 24, 2020 (9:52 pm)

            As an active duty SPD officer, I have to say you make some valid points. Assuming the scene is safe, an ME tech could respond to something like this. Only hitch I see is validation of the contents of the suitcase. A patrol officer is much closer than a county-wide ME tech so the response time would (normally) be quicker. Assuming it’s legit, the ME could take over and call Homicide.

          • Margot June 22, 2020 (10:14 pm)

            You don’t need an armed man to handle a suitcase full of human remains. You need a medical examiner. So why waste the armed man’s time with this task?  Spend the money elsewhere and have a qualified person handle it. 

          • Adee June 23, 2020 (12:49 am)

            You see the reason the police have to be involved with this is because it could possibly be a murder and if it is they are the people who will have to investigate and catch the murderer.

          • Angelia Eubanks June 26, 2020 (12:12 pm)

            Possibly could be a murder? Nah the person just ripped into pieces and hopped into the suitcase! Smh 🤦🏻‍♀️

          • Graciano June 23, 2020 (4:46 am)

            This agency…

          • Jiles June 23, 2020 (7:35 am)

            You’re just being obtuse. This is exactly what the police should be responding to and they could do it in less than 3 hours if they weren’t handling calls they aren’t trained for. ie: mental health issues, child welfare, animal control issues, All things that he police respond to but shouldn’t. 

          • Tony W June 23, 2020 (10:09 am)

            Thanks for the excellent question. I’d like to see a plan from protesters showing the allocation of funds to newly created services instead of the now tiresome “Defund the Police”.

          • nimakokaaz June 25, 2020 (12:19 pm)

            except that’s exactly what “defund the police” means. the money won’t just float away, into the sky. every dollar put towards giving police more weapons and better armor is taken directly out of the pockets of other agencies. if you’re tired of hearing “defund police” then you need to start listening to the people who aren’t getting on the news cos they have more to say than a soundbyte mainstream media is pretending is the only argument being offered. msm is a platform for police propaganda, which is why they keep using cop-talk like “officer-involved shooting.” the hell does that mean, anyways? if my dog knocks down a casserole and eats it, i’m not gonna tell my partner we’re ordering in cos there was a “dog-involved eating.” that’s ridiculous. if cops kill someone, the headline should be “police fatally shoot man.” you ever notice how nobody calls it an “officer-involved shooting” if someone shoots a cop? it’s almost like the language has changed to protect cops from … something. some kind of responsibility?? 

          • Najah June 25, 2020 (6:03 am)

            Thank you! Exactly what I was thinking! What other “agencies” would they reccomend sending out for this type of crime and call? This is exactly the type of crime, we need POLICE OFFICERS to respond to. They are actually in fact, trained for this sort of thing! I bet if they found this suit case or it was onr of their family members murdered they’d be wanting the police then. Some people…. smdh! 🤯🤬🤦🏽‍♀️🤷🏽‍♀️

        • AdmiralSDV June 22, 2020 (8:40 pm)

          Well said, heartless. This is exactly it. 

        • Bob June 22, 2020 (10:34 pm)

          What? I understand getting other agencies to go to these kinds of emergencies, but how would giving police less money help? You said it yourself, the reason police are struggling is because they are asked too much, so you want to give the jobs to other agencies. Which that is fine and more than fair, but then you still want to defund the police? By the way, defunding means to completely stop funding.

          • Krs June 22, 2020 (11:29 pm)

            Defunding the police does not necessarily mean getting rid of the police altogether. Rather, it would mean reducing police budgets and reallocating those funds to crucial and oft-neglected areas like education, public health, housing, and youth services. 

          • Amy June 29, 2020 (12:45 pm)

            I do wish there was a better word used than “defund”. It’s just so vague and really doesn’t describe the meaning very well.

          • CL June 23, 2020 (11:35 am)

            add “defund” to the ever growing list of words that are being redefined….

          • Katey June 28, 2020 (3:01 am)

            Education has been defunded for years, so it obviously isn’t a term only used when removing all of the funds. 

        • Bernhard Derksen June 29, 2020 (3:58 pm)

          Damn right !Civilians don’t get it until they get hired as officers. 

        • Daina July 2, 2020 (11:40 pm)

          I work in social services and see regularly the police being asked to do jobs a seasoned MHP would wince at. They deserve to be funded to do the job they are designed to do as peace keepers and as well the officer-people doing those jobs deserve to not be asked to militarize their neighbors. We need a new system. You can’t fix a situation with the same thinking that created it. New voices are good and not a threat.Just a thought

      • Patti O June 28, 2020 (12:22 pm)

        Actually, no. That’s really their normal response time with a $363 million budget. Definitely not worth the $$$$$.

    • Alki Resident June 24, 2020 (12:51 am)

      It wasn’t a human remains call. It was a smelly bag call. There was a shooting that day in Capitol Hill as well. Lots of issues going on in Seattle and not enough police.I live across the street from where this happened. I watched the police out there doing their job, scooping up body parts with a shovel and putting them into the body bag and then staying for hours late into the evening gathering and preserving evidence. This is only a job for the police. I’m glad we have them.

    • Yelitza June 24, 2020 (5:40 pm)

      I don’t know why no one is taking about the fact that a APP lead them there?

  • Lola June 22, 2020 (2:55 pm)

    WSB, Thanks for the update.  I know it will take awhile for them to sort it all out.  Weird about the 2 hr response time.  Must have been the changing of the guards or something.   I hope they can find something out about who it might be or who may have done this.  Another very strange case indeed.  I can bet the world is interested in Everything Seattle right now.  

  • Brenda June 22, 2020 (3:55 pm)

    Maybe just maybe our police are severely understaffed. Get the facts people – or go get an application 

    • Bill June 22, 2020 (6:44 pm)

      At least you get it!

    • KT June 23, 2020 (8:57 pm)


    • Pat O June 28, 2020 (12:24 pm)

      Their budget is twice that of schools, they are plenty staffed.

  • wetone June 22, 2020 (4:00 pm)

    First off I feel for all those involved. But what is going on here in Seattle ? 2 hours for police to show up in this case, total break down with what ever one wants to call protests and Capital hill issues. Mayor Durkan has got to go due to her poor leadership and SPD Chief Best which I really liked has shown me a whole new side of weakness that’s unacceptable. City council ? well that’s why we are here.

    • KD June 23, 2020 (9:54 pm)

      We need to DEFUND Kshama Sawant!!!

      • Xuu206 June 24, 2020 (10:08 am)

        I second that!! DEFUND Sawant!!

    • Ashley June 24, 2020 (8:46 pm)

      I’m sorry but 2 hour response time in west Seattle in an entirely different precinct has NOTHING TO DO with Capitol Hill. You’re probably a cop who voted for mike solan. And you’re full of lies. No wonder we are protesting . 

    • Grigor June 24, 2020 (9:57 pm)

      99.9% of ‘suspicious’ calls like this turn out to be nothing. There was no reason to hurry. People are always calling 911 with reports of dead bodies. It’s almost never legit. The fact that Patrol didn’t show up for 2 hours to a smelly suitcase call is completely reasonable.

      • MMarie June 30, 2020 (11:01 pm)

        Completely disagree.

  • Graciano June 22, 2020 (4:11 pm)

    Have not watched or care to watch the “Tik Tok” video but maybe the lack of urgency on the SPD was because… suitcase that smells bad…OK let’s turn on the blues and rush right over there to find Star Fish, crabs stuck in a suitcase, now it’s come up to the surface and it smells bad.
    Maybe they thought it’s like our garbage can smells bad in warm weather, our compost bin smells bad should I call the police???

    • Bill June 22, 2020 (6:45 pm)

      Another one with feet on the ground!

  • AIDM June 22, 2020 (4:24 pm)

    Wow, that video is crazy. How do police take four-hours to respond to a “we think we found a dead body in a suitcase” call?

    • WSB June 22, 2020 (4:41 pm)

      Two hours. And I don’t know (short of PDRing the 911 call, which will take a bit, but I’m on it) that they called and said, “We think we found a dead body.” If the initial call was “We found a suitcase and it smells bad” … listen to the scanner sometime. There are calls worse than that, that sometimes have to hold.

      • Erica June 22, 2020 (5:52 pm)

        How does PDRing work?

        • Lee June 23, 2020 (2:32 am)

          Public Disclosure Request

  • M June 22, 2020 (4:58 pm)

    If the bags washed ashore to West Seattle where might they have originated from? 

    • WD48 June 22, 2020 (9:44 pm)

      If all of the bags were from inside the suitcase and separated after the TikTok kids opened the suitcase and the tide came in then it could have washed in from almost anywhere in the world. 

  • sam-c June 22, 2020 (5:20 pm)

    Did they confirm how many humans the remains are from ? So far the stories seem to suggest 1 but haven’t heard any info  suggesting whether or not they’ve looked into the possibility of multiple victims.

    • WSB June 22, 2020 (10:26 pm)

      No further information on exactly what in the suitcase constituted “human remains.” As I noted in discussion of the original story, that phrase is a catch-all for many possibilities.

  • ScubaFrog June 22, 2020 (5:42 pm)

    This is absolutely terrifying.  I hope they can identify the decedent for the family quickly, and I hope the perpetrator is caught immediately.  I’ve thought about the currents and low tides too, perhaps NOAA may be able draw up currents/tide maps.  If the body wasn’t dropped right there, I wonder if they could get a general idea of where it went in the water ie land mass.  They were able to determine the feet in sneakers came from BC (God knows how), which to me is a mystery in itself.  

  • W June 22, 2020 (7:03 pm)

    Not surprised by a 2 hour wait that seems about right for the SPD 

    • Grigor June 24, 2020 (10:02 pm)

      Tell us how it should be done, armchair quarterback…

  • WSobserver June 22, 2020 (7:04 pm)

    Anybody else remember some years ago when bags of  body parts were washing up regularly in Vancouver BC? I do believe that is the same Puget sound.

    • WSB June 22, 2020 (7:35 pm)

      Feet were washing up.

      • bolo June 22, 2020 (8:24 pm)

        Also running shoes from Fukushima.

    • AMD June 22, 2020 (8:57 pm)

      It was feet, and they’re widely believed to be the results of suicides… because modern sneakers contain lightweight synthetic materials, the feet will stay afloat (and in the shoes) for some time even after the rest of the body decomposes and/or is consumed by wildlife.  That’s the prevailing theory, anyway (about the feet).

  • Community Member June 22, 2020 (7:47 pm)

    … and I believe that with DNA testing, detectives were eventually able to identify the feet as belonging to persons known or suspected to have died at sea, or upriver, and the conclusion was that modern footwear had allowed the feet to  outlast the decomposition process and separate from the bodies. Creepy and disturbing, but really not the same thing.

  • Sml June 22, 2020 (8:01 pm)

    If the person is already dead why rush? 

    • cjboffoli June 22, 2020 (9:30 pm)

      Preservation of evidence. Time is essential to securing the scene.

    • WestSide June 22, 2020 (9:34 pm)

      Some evidence that would be very important to a medical examiner was being carried off when the tide came in, according to the young people at the scene.

  • WD48 June 22, 2020 (9:57 pm)

    SPD response time has gotten pretty bad over the years. They probably need more officers. My sister in law has a house in north Seattle and came home to it with signs that it had been broken into. Called 911, asked for an officer to come by and make sure that the house was clear. She waited out front for 2 hours. No show. I drove over and checked for her. Found evidence of the break in, including tools that had been used and left in the kitchen. 

    • 2L-34 ID:133 June 23, 2020 (5:22 pm)

      Nobody wants to be a police officer in Seattle. Lack of support from city council members, and the general public makes it very difficult to hire and retain officers. The city did this to themselves. I can’t really feel all that bad for them. 

  • Steve June 22, 2020 (10:42 pm)

    The guy who refused help the other day when he was sinking in a dingy is the guy who dumped that body. WSB reported on it about 24 hrs prior. 

  • TM7302 June 22, 2020 (10:44 pm)

    Thank goodness we have the armchair quarterbacks providing their expert opinion on crime scene control, evidence preservation/collection, forensic analysis and detective work.  I’m surprised the case isn’t solved yet.

  • LiouxLioux June 22, 2020 (11:36 pm)

    Daily Mail or The Sun calling!! You’ve hit the bit time!

    • WSB June 23, 2020 (12:01 am)

      Daily Mail, fleetingly interested in a photo but they went with the TikTok video instead (at least they blurred the suitcase).

  • STFU June 23, 2020 (2:55 am)

    Other agencies? Defunding police? How Tf is that gonna help the remains in that suitcase? Y’all just brighter than skittles left on the sidewalk for the birds. What other agencies besides (Medical Examiners, FBI CSI and police) you think will be able to do the job? MFs are so stuck on this annoying subject that every little thing that happens MFs always talking about defunding the police🤦‍♀️. Most of those men working in the police department are loyal people who is actually doing their jobs and it’s their only source of income to feed their children. Just because there’s bad ones don’t mean all of them gotta suffer. GTFOH🙄

  • anonyme June 23, 2020 (6:40 am)

    I would have guessed The Sun and Dateline, but the story is pretty widespread internationally at this point.  Neither safe nor sane are adjectives that could be used to describe Seattle right now (or maybe ever – Seattle has long been a magnet for deviants).  As for the TikTok video, it doesn’t show anything graphic.  The disturbing part is what happens in your mind and soul when seeing the lumpy bag in the suitcase,  then speculating as to what the lumps could represent now that we know the contents.

  • J June 23, 2020 (11:32 am)

    Graciano has it right. In defense of the police (after speaking to one about this call out) – it wasn’t identified as a body or body parts. It was a bag, at the beach, that smelled bad. Didn’t register as an emergency call.     

  • Brad B. June 23, 2020 (2:59 pm)

    What we need in Seattle is strong leadership not push over leadership. The Seattle Police are not to blame. Are Seattle Police chief has demonstrated such great leadership skills. The problem in Seattle stems from Mayor, Governor, Prosecuting Attorney, and radical city council members. We need a change of leadership in Seattle.

  • Rebecca June 24, 2020 (10:48 am)

    Thank you for the update.  Please continue to keep your readers informed, some of us really appreciate it.  

  • LMS June 24, 2020 (8:39 pm)

    Any updates from SPD/ME:  how many bags did they find, how many victims (one or more), can they ID the victim(s), is the boater from Thu morning a person of interest, etc.?  It seems from comments that many others are more interested in frivolous debates, but I want to know what’s being done by investigators.  What if a serial killer is involved, don’t we want to put on the pressure to get this solved and prevent future victims?

    • WSB June 24, 2020 (9:22 pm)

      No new info so far.

      • Brittanie June 25, 2020 (12:40 am)

        Very interested in a follow up to this once you have some news. Thanks for covering it. It’s a little hard to sort through the news right now so this is a good source to have.Also, after watching the TikTok videos of both users (the main video and one from the friend who was at the scene, different TikTok accounts) I found this comment as I was scrolling through (see attached image). What a traumatizing event for those kids! Wow. 

  • Jaf June 25, 2020 (7:00 am)

    Okay, well….. Firstly, it’s not even the p.d.’s jurisdiction . If any it’s either the coast guard hence “coast”, or I’m not certain but, port of Seattle. I would leave the police bashing out and try thanking them as it wasn’t in their boundaries. They did the best they could I’m sure. 

  • Aly June 26, 2020 (12:56 am)

    WSB I appreciate u keeping us as up to date as u possibly can considering there is no other news outlet reporting anything at this point. And Grigor thank u as well for your knowledge. It seems weird that this was all over the news and then poof! It’s gone. I appreciate WSB for doing what they can to keep us up to date. 

  • anonyme June 26, 2020 (7:00 am)

    It does seem odd that there has not been a single new detail in a week.  I would at least have expected some victim info re: gender, age, number of victims, when they died, etc.  The case itself may or may not ever be solved, but I would have expected more details by now, especially on a case that has garnered international attention.

    • WSB June 26, 2020 (10:55 am)

      I just talked with police again and they are still waiting on the Medical Examiner’s Office, which we also continue to check with. That’s all can do. If nothing further emerges today, I may just write a “still waiting” story.

  • annonnon June 27, 2020 (8:24 pm)

    I might of missed something, but are there any updates on this story?

    • WSB June 27, 2020 (8:37 pm)

      Not yet.

  • Patti O. June 28, 2020 (12:29 pm)

    It’s stunning, or maybe it shouldn’t be, that people are focussed on defending the police’s repose time when DEAD BODIES WERE FOUND. It’s what’s wrong with our society, folks so eager to appear correct in their political stance that they can’t see the human experience right before them. It’s sad and sickening. Peace be with the deceased. And GOD HELP the rest of you…

  • kyler June 30, 2020 (10:13 am)

    How is there no update on this yet?…It’s been over a week since body parts in suitcases washed up on our beach. Not a single word on it. Anyone care to share their thoughts on what the heck is going on?

  • Concerned West Seattlite June 30, 2020 (10:24 am)

    This is fishy!  The authorities need to provide an update for the general public safety!  Goodness there may be a murderer on the loose!  Thanks for keeping this blog updated, appreciate it!

  • LMS July 5, 2020 (9:21 pm)

    WSB, please know I appreciate all you do to keep this community informed, sincerely.   This is not a criticism of you, but other media outlets, or maybe the community as a whole.  I can’t understand the lack of response from officials, nor the lack of pressure from the community.  It seems the standards here are so low we just shrug shoulders: “That’s an interesting headline.  Caused me pause, but oh well, it didn’t involve my silo of friends and family so not my problem or worry.”  Somebody washed up onto our beach.  OUR beach.  It is now our responsibility to help them and make certain their case doesn’t just get filed away and forgotten with a shrug.   I want to know who this victim is, what happened to them, and who’s responsible.  I want justice.  Moving on to the next headline for another moment of giving a shrug is not a standard I want for my community, West Seattle.  Do you?

  • Aly July 7, 2020 (2:20 am)

    So now we know who the victim a are… but not a single story on them? Do they not have family or friends who miss them? This is the weirdest case ever. We just had 2 people hit by a car on the freeway and we know where they work, what their passions are etc. again it is like they have just swept this case under the rug. Not sure why it is being kept so under rap…

    • WSB July 7, 2020 (6:28 am)

      No one has “swept this case under the rug.” You’re not going to see that kind of story here because we don’t bother grieving families. I worked in TV news for 20+ years and it’s that aspect of that work that I remain ashamed of. A couple of relatives have posted in the comment thread of the newest story, and what else do you need to know? The only thing that matters from here, to the public, is bringing the killer(s) to justice. – TR

    • Michelle A Sullivan July 8, 2020 (11:47 pm)

      “WTF” is wrong with you people?!!! All those bags of human remains found washing up on shore were friends of mine and my husbands. Austin and Jessica were very good people with alot of family and friends who loved them. We are all in shock over this and pray everyday that our   Law enforcement And all people in charge of this investigation will find the person or persons  who did this. And when they do find out who or whom took our friends lives as   brutally as they did get the  Death sentence. We miss them so much words can not describe at all. 😢 RIP Austin “AKA Cash” and Jess your missed deeply…

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