FOLLOWUP: Police confirm body found during Leticia Martinez-Cosman investigation; suspect now also charged in West Seattle burglary

10:36 AM: Two new developments in connection with the investigation of the disappearance of Leticia Martinez-Cosman:

First, Seattle Police confirm they found a person dead in Renton while investigating tips in . This was first reported late last night by KOMO TV, and a WSB reader pointed us to that story very early today; we have since confirmed the discovery with SPD – this is the statement sent by SPD spokesperson Det. Judinna Gulpan:

SPD Homicide Detectives followed leads obtained during the investigation which resulted in the recovery of a deceased subject in the Renton area Tuesday afternoon. The King County Medical Examiner’s Office will confirm the identity of the deceased and the cause and manner of death.

We have no further information to share at this time.

(The Medical Examiner usually releases information after 3 pm, so we might find out more later today.) Renton is also where Ms. Martinez-Cosman’s 24-year-old son told police he had escaped from a man who kidnapped and tried to kill him; that attack is the subject of some of the charges filed against Brett M. Gitchel, as reported here Monday. Police say Gitchel is the man last seen with her, at and leaving the March 31st Mariners game, and that he is the arsonist who torched her car, found burning on Beacon Hill. Gitchel remains in the King County Jail in lieu of $5,050,000 bail.

That additional $50,000 bail is because of another case filed against him – which we just discovered this morning while doublechecking Gitchel’s status. This one is the Genesee Hill burglary caught on video and originally published in WSB Crime Watch on March 28th, days before the disappearance. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Gitchel on Tuesday with second-degree burglary in that case. The victim also uploaded his security video with an SPD report and the charging documents say a detective viewing that video identified the intruder as Gitchel (as did WSB readers). Here’s the clip we published:

Meantime, in addition to the reader report we originally published, there is one additional detail – the burglary victim recalled seeing the same man, now identified as Gitchel, walking on his street the day before. We’ll add the narrative from these charging documents as soon as we can.

12:02 PM: Here’s that narrative, with the victim’s name and address references redacted:

On March 28, 2023, at 1:50 pm, 911 received a call from (burglary victim). The call details stated “Inv. burg, occd 1200 to 0130. Susp into RP’s backyard multiple times, tried the back door, ripped down the cameras and cut the cord, broke into RP’s shed and stole a leaf blower and clock, no wpns, avail 1700, CB policy adv.” An initial report was taken by a Telephone Reporting Unit officer and as such no officer responded to the scene. (The victim) submitted three videos to the General Investigations Unit on March 28th around 2:35 pm. Those videos were later uploaded to under this case number. After having reviewed the surveillance videos I recognized the suspect as someone I had seen on another SPD bulletin as Gitchell, Brett M. (DOB xxxx 1976). I reached out to the victim to try to get more information about the incident.

(He) reported that on the morning of March 28th he was notified by his wife that the cable/internet was out. (He) initially just thought that there might be an outage in the area and then spent some time resetting the box thinking that might resolve the problem. When it did not, he eventually made his way outside and located the cable box on the outside of the house. (He) discovered that the cables coming into the house had been cut. As he continued to look around, he found that his security cameras had been removed and that entry had been made into his garden shed in his back yard as well as attempted in his alley shed. (He) found that items were missing from the shed.

(The victim) noted that his house (location information redacted). The house has a fully fenced back yard to the east of the residence. There are two gated access points to the yard, and chain ink fence on the (street) side and a wooden gate with a barrel lock and matching trellis on the alley side. The yard is surrounded by well-manicured foliage and the gate has the house number on it. It would be apparent to anyone that this was not public property and that it was someone’s private residence.

(The victim’s) security cameras are manufactured by Blink and the videos are stored remotely, either in cloud storage or an external module. Therefore the surveillance videos from the incident were still available … even though his cameras were stolen. (He) stated that the videos showed that Gitchel first made entry into the backyard around 11:45 pm March 27th. Gitchel then proceeds to come and go from the yard through the gate that accesses the alleyway numerous times until around 1:05 am on March 28. Gitchel is first seen on cameras with his face covered and wearing blue latex/nitrile gloves.

Gitchel is wearing a distinctive two-toned Mariners hooded sweatshirt which has a teal hood and shoulders (to the elbow) but is otherwise dark blue with “Seattle” emblazoned across the front with khaki pants. The suspect is wearing black rimmed glasses and a medical mask. The videos are not timestamped but it appears that Gitchel first enters the property from the alleyway (based on the angle he approaches the camera from) without a mask on. When he notices the security cameras, which would have been emitting a blue light, he turns and leaves the yard. Gitchel then later returns with his face covered, but he does not change his clothing. Gitchel is then seen manipulating the cameras to alter their field of view, before ultimately deciding to remove the cameras altogether. Gitchel eventually returned to the yard without the medical mask on. The remaining camera captured a very clear image of him including a clear image of his face. Gitchel appears to be wearing black shoes with red on the front, possibly the soles, which is not clear on the other videos. This camera is also eventually removed, but it appears that Gitchel missed it in the first round up.

Gitchel tries to open the back door to the residence but finds that despite the glass screen door being ajar, the door was locked. Gitchel was unable to gain entry to the house but does gain entry to the garden shed. (The victim) stated that the door to the garden shed was shut and that there is a lock on the door, but that it is usually unlocked. (He) stated that Gitchel removed a clock from the exterior of the garden shed (inexpensive outdoor clock) as well as a gas-powered Echo backpack blower (valued around $380). (He) also stated that a pair of shears that had been inside the garden shed were taken, and it appeared that Gitchel tried to pry open the alley shed, which was locked, with them. (The victim) stated that there are some faint pry marks on the shed and that the shears were damaged.

After reviewing the video (the victim) remembered that he has encountered the suspect the day before. On March 27 around 3:00 pm, (the victim) was on (the street in front of his house) unloading golf clubs from his vehicle. (He) saw Gitchel walking by northbound on the east sidewalk and Gitchel commented to him that it was a nice day for golf. (The victim) later saw Gitchel walking southbound on … the west side of the street. (The victim) noted that he did not recognize him from the neighborhood, but that he didn’t think much of it until after he saw the security videos the next day (He) confirmed that he does not know Gitchel and that he did not have permission to come onto his private property or to remove any of the items.

(The victim) eventually located his missing cameras in the neighboring property to the south. They appeared undamaged and (the victim) was able to remount them to his house. At this time the clock and backpack blower are still outstanding. Comcast/Xfinity had to respond to the house to repair the cut cable wires but (the victim) was not charged for this service.

Still nothing indicating what might have brought Gitchel to West Seattle, aside from the reference in the missing-woman investigation to him allegedly claiming he had attended WSHS. As noted previously, the charging documents from Monday list his “last known address” as in Orting; this one, and the original probable-cause document, list an address in Federal Way.

4:23 PM UPDATE: This afternoon’s daily release of case information by the Medical Examiner’s Office did not include an ID for the person found dead in Renton.

46 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Police confirm body found during Leticia Martinez-Cosman investigation; suspect now also charged in West Seattle burglary"

  • sam-c April 12, 2023 (10:56 am)

    Just sickening.     Not the update that anyone wanted to hear, but thank you for keeping us informed, WSB.

  • Heidi April 12, 2023 (11:20 am)

    Throw away the key, please and thank you!

  • Derek April 12, 2023 (11:39 am)

    So they found the body between Talbot and 167 right off the highway by S 192nd St? Dang I work right by there… scary.

  • flimflam April 12, 2023 (12:09 pm)

    While obviously not all thieves and “petty” criminals will become murderers, this is yet another reason why enforcement and prosecution of ALL crimes is important – as well as why having an adequately staffed police department is also important. If only this vile man had been apprehended sooner while prowling around in peoples yards…

    • Derek April 13, 2023 (10:09 am)

      The ratio of petty crimes to violent is still way off. You can’t just put everyone in jail. Do not put a guy who steals a doordash item to feed his family remotely in the same level as this vile human being. Let’s not play this game. 

      • flimflam April 13, 2023 (4:20 pm)

        As usual (I’m my opinion) you are way off base here. I was speaking generally but also very specifically about this guy – he WAS indeed prowling around peoples yards, stealing, etc. If crimes like that were actively investigated maybe he’d be in jail already and not out on the streets? Save your analogy about the poor father stealing to feed his family – it’s ridiculous and not a good faith argument. There are food banks and lots of food assistance available. This may be the thread to NOT be defending criminals.

      • Bill April 13, 2023 (8:49 pm)

        Yes. Thank you Derek. 

  • Taylor N. April 12, 2023 (12:10 pm)

    I’ve been checking in on this case like a mad person. Definitely not the outcome we all hoped and prayed for, but appreciate all of the updates. Please let this guy rot in prison!

    • D-Mom April 12, 2023 (10:45 pm)

      Same. I want this woman to be found alive and safe so much that it hurts. I can imagine the burglary victims are stunned that this awful person was trying to get into their home. So glad they are safe. Seriously do us all a favor and keep this guy locked up!

  • Kim April 12, 2023 (12:15 pm)

    This is very sad news. Thinking of her son, family, and friends.

  • Sadie Finch April 12, 2023 (12:20 pm)

    Thank you for doing such a good job of reporting. This is a heartbreaking case. You’re doing a wonderful job of reporting it. Thank you. 

  • Gabby April 12, 2023 (12:23 pm)

    So sick to read this. I don’t think this guy went back to the son for some kind of mercy killing to keep him out of an institution at all. Given he was driving the son around for hours in the same area as where his mother’s body was (unconfirmed but probably) I think this guy was going to try and create a scene that looked like a murder-suicide and pin it on the son. Fortunately he couldn’t retrace his steps properly.Hope he goes to prison forever. 

  • K April 12, 2023 (1:07 pm)

    What an absolute waste of oxygen that guy is.  I’m heartbroken for her family and friends.  The only slight silver lining here is that this guy was so incredibly careless as to leave a wealth of evidence in his trail, which will hopefully lead to an easy conviction. 

    • Jeepney April 12, 2023 (2:19 pm)

      Not only that, but thankfully Leticia sent that text of the two of them together at the ballgame to her friend.  Totally agree with flimflam as well.

      • K April 12, 2023 (8:19 pm)

        You’re so right.  She was instrumental in solving her own murder. 

  • Lola April 12, 2023 (1:28 pm)

    What a human dirt bag this guy is.  I hope he is put away for a very long time.  Does it ever say where his residence was?  Or was he living out of his car?  I know last known address was Federal way or Orting but he sure seemed to know his way around Renton, Beacon Hill, and West Seattle. I hope he gets put away for a very long time.  

  • bradley April 12, 2023 (1:36 pm)

    A big Thumbs Up to the neighbor who filed the report and video (although sorry for the conditions.)OT:  has there been any updates on the wrong way driver on WS Bridge?

    • WSB April 12, 2023 (2:35 pm)

      As of my last check on Monday, he is still in the hospital and charges have not yet been filed.

      • 1994 April 12, 2023 (10:19 pm)

        Have the police been able to identify the wrong way driver and where they are from? The TV news weeks ago said the police were not able to identify the driver. 

        • WSB April 12, 2023 (11:12 pm)

          We have long since reported that police ID’d the driver, after initially reporting police saying they didn’t know his name. What limited information I have indicates he is a West Seattle resident.

  • Closecall April 12, 2023 (2:46 pm)

    My daughter and grandson had a close call with him last year in Renton!!! He allegedly found my ex-husband‘s dog, my adult daughter and grandson went to pick up the dog and he was very concerned with who my grandson was which we found strange we have his picture and he reluctantly gave my adult daughter the dog back and it happens to be near where they just found this woman’s body in Renton so creeped out!! She recognized his tattoos and face on the news and instantly knew it was him. I said yeah he looks close but he’s from Bellingham come to find out he was in Renton last year and that’s where they just found her body.

    • WSB April 12, 2023 (6:24 pm)

      I hope you have contacted SPD (206-233-5000) to tell them this. Meantime, just a point of clarity, the person whose body was found has not so far been publicly identified as Ms. Martinez-Cosman, or anyone else – the Medical Examiner’s Office has released today’s list of case IDs and this was not among them.

  • Brooke April 12, 2023 (6:02 pm)

    Just tragic. Thank you for such comprehensive reporting WSB!

  • AMC April 12, 2023 (6:10 pm)

    What on earth was his motive? This is what I want to know? He tried to kill her son too? That is insane. I pray it is not her body. I pray she will be found. Her son needs her, her family and friends love her. Why on earth was this dude allowed out considering he has an extensive criminal record. Clearly he was unsafe to be out and about with the public. I hope they don’t come back with “oh yeah he had a mental problem.”  This is a cop out to me. If you know someone has mental issues put them away! 

  • WSB April 12, 2023 (6:21 pm)

    For those asking how to help, a reader sent this GoFundMe page that is attributed to the family of Leticia’s son’s father:

    • DRW April 14, 2023 (10:34 am)

      There are 2 GoFundMe pages for Letecia and Patrick. One page is organized by Patrick’s Aunt in Los Angeles. Funds for this page go to Patricks on-going care. The other page is organized by Letecia’s Brother in West Seattle. Funds for this page also go to Patrick as well as covering expenses for the Martinez Family.  Please donate.

  • oerthehillz April 12, 2023 (8:59 pm)

    Sounds to me like Gitchel’s been spiralling out of control  and escalating for a while now. Pretty strange set of crimes over the years. What a horrible loss to our community and for her sweet son. I hope he will be able to receive all the support he’ll need.

  • Chrissy D April 12, 2023 (10:44 pm)

    What a loser, please lock him up through eternity. They should blur out the mariners, what an embarrassment. The org would not want him wearing that.

  • I’mcoveredinbees April 13, 2023 (1:33 pm)

    Hey WSB, any news on when we will be getting an ID on the body? Thanks for your excellent and timely coverage.

    • WSB April 13, 2023 (2:17 pm)

      The next possibility is this afternoon’s Medical Examiner “media list” – usually after 3 pm. But no guarantee. Sometimes it takes a long time – for factors from next-of-kin notification (I don’t know how extensively the ME requires that be done) to determination of the cause of death. (Sometimes they release names and not the cause of death, immediately …) – TR

  • Viv Monaghan April 13, 2023 (2:22 pm)

    Scum of the earth. 

  • Imcoveredinbees April 13, 2023 (3:02 pm)

    @WSB, thank you!

    • WSB April 13, 2023 (3:19 pm)

      Today’s list is out and the Renton person is not on it.

      • Yen April 13, 2023 (3:22 pm)

        Sorry, what does that mean?  Does it mean Leticia’s name is not on today’s media list from the ME?

        • WSB April 13, 2023 (4:12 pm)

          It means whoever’s body was found in Renton, their ID is not on the list again today. The info in the ME releases is typically name, age, what city and what date the person died in/on, and cause of death. There were no Renton cases on today’s list.

          • I’mcoveredinbees April 13, 2023 (6:53 pm)

            @WSB Hopefully we’ll know tomorrow. Appreciate the update.

  • Rita April 14, 2023 (1:06 am)

    Great theory. 

  • Buncake April 14, 2023 (4:03 am)

    He’s lucky he didn’t step into the wrong yard. And get punished some people are more vigilant. Protect your property and keep your family and neighbors safe.criminals have no sense that they should be the ones that are scared. People work hard for their homes and property some people don’t play around.. So glad they caught that muderer

  • TD April 14, 2023 (8:24 am)

    Here is a GoFundMe for Leticia set up by her brother. – There was one sent out a couple days ago by the father’s side of the family in Texas, but from what I understand they (the aunt who set it up) haven’t seen Patrick in about 15 years. Hopefully it was set up with good intentions, but this one is actually from Leticia’s family.

    • seattleatheart April 14, 2023 (1:55 pm)

      This is horrible comment to make. 100% of the funds from the gofundme set up by his aunt is going directly to Patrick and his care. Please don’t start false rumors, what a terrible thing to do in the face of this tragedy.

    • Suzanne April 15, 2023 (3:28 pm)

      This is how to let GoFundMe know there might be a problem with the legitimacy of a campaign, and to get your money back. I used it recently and it’s an essential way to make sure your support is actually going where it belongs/where we intended —

  • Mel April 14, 2023 (9:50 am)

    An aunt who hasn’t seen Patrick in 15 years?! Argh. I have to that account. Does anyone know if we can get our money back from thd aunt account? I just gave to her brothers account and that is where I want my money and focus to go.

    • Alison April 16, 2023 (8:56 pm)

      Mel – no need to worry.  His aunt is my sister and set up the gofundme for Patrick with the best of intentions, and with the blessing of the family.  All of the money is going directly to Patrick’s care (a trust account has already been opened for him).  Thank you for your donation and concern.

  • TD April 14, 2023 (10:39 am)

    Confirmed by her brother Ricardo, the body found in Renton was his sister. So sad… –

  • Lola April 14, 2023 (11:01 am)

    They have identified the body as that of Leticia.  Prayers to her family but glad they do not have to keep looking for her.  Sad that this is how it ended.  He is a real piece of work to have done this.  He better never get out.  

    • WSB April 14, 2023 (11:42 am)

      That’s according to TV stations quoting her brother, with whom we don’t have direct contact, so we don’t have that confirmation yet, fwiw. Will publish a separate update when we do have confirmation.

Sorry, comment time is over.