A teenage boy faces kidnapping and murder charges in Alaska where, on Friday, authorities recovered the body of missing teen David Grunwald
A teenage boy faces kidnapping and murder charges in Alaska where, on Friday, authorities recovered the battered, bullet-riddled remains of his friend weeks after the latter boy went missing, PEOPLE confirms.
According to court records, 16-year-old Erick Almandinger allegedly confessed to involvement in the killing of his friend David Grunwald. David, also 16, was last seen alive on Nov. 13 after he reportedly dropped his girlfriend off at her home.
Police claim Erick revealed his motivation for the slaying as he was being questioned by detectives.
“The only motive that Almandinger indicated was present during the event was that [David] had smoked all his weed,” alleges a police affidavit, which was obtained by PEOPLE.
“He said they didn’t get any money,” the affidavit alleges. “Almandinger showed very little if any remorse for his actions and only shed tears when advised his ‘friends’ had talked to the police,” it further claims.
David’s remains were found in a wooded portion of Palmer, Alaska. He was beaten before being shot, according to court records.
His vehicle, which had been torched, had been discovered the day after his disappearance, and friends and family quickly began a search, according to the Alaska Dispatch News.
Describing his death as “devastating,” David’s parents (who could not immediately be reached) said in an email to the Dispatch News that “the kidnapping and murder of our son was unnecessary, weak minded, cowardice and shameful.”
“David was a sweet, caring and respecting boy,” they wrote. “He was viciously attacked and murdered.”
The newly filed affidavit in David’s death alleges in detail, based on statements from Erick and other evidence, how the boy was attacked and then shot — as he pleaded for his life — after meeting to hang out with other teens that November night.
Court records allege David and Erick were drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana in a 1971 camper trailer with a third, unnamed teen on Nov. 13. The third teen, identified only as “D.J.,” allegedly asked Erick to fetch a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun from inside his house. He did, according to court records, bringing the firearm back to the trailer, where all three teens inspected and handled it.
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At some point in the trailer, “D.J. bludgeoned [David] with the pistol,” the affidavit alleges. The injured boy was then driven to nearby Butte, Alaska.
Only partially conscious, David asked to be taken to his girlfriend’s home, according to the affidavit, and once the group arrived at the woods, he asked not to be killed. While Erick allegedly first told investigators it was D.J. who shot David, he later said it was another teenager, identified as “A.B.,” who fired the fatal round.
Court records claim Erick also told a friend that he had killed David, recounting how he beat and then shot the teen. So far, only he has been charged with murder. He remains in custody and has not yet entered a plea. Records show he had not retained an attorney as of Monday night.
Residents at Erick’s home declined to be interviewed, when reached by the Dispatch News.
Hours after he vanished, David’s father phoned Alaska State Troopers, concerned about his son. David’s father also told troopers he believed his son may have traveled that night to Anchorage, Alaska, with Erick.
Police searched for David’s vehicle that same evening, but it wasn’t found until the next morning. Someone had called 911 after finding the truck, and investigators spent the next two days trying to track Erick down.
When they finally caught up with him, the teen allegedly denied knowing anything about David’s disappearance.
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Erick allegedly told police he hadn’t seen his friend in two to three weeks, according to court records. He also provided police with an alibi, claiming he had attended a party in Anchorage the night that David vanished. But detectives secured a search warrant for Erick’s home, seizing the suspect’s tablet. Data from the device contradicted Erick’s claims he traveled to Anchorage the night David went missing.
Investigators — armed with this new evidence — spoke again with Erick, who allegedly acknowledged lying about his whereabouts the night his friend disappeared, according to court records.
In addition, police searching the camper trailer detected “an overwhelming odor of bleach” as they entered the vehicle. Additional testing was performed on the camper, and blood evidence was recovered from inside the vehicle.
Erick allegedly later admitted trying to clean the camper trailer of any physical evidence, court records show.
The investigation into David’s death continues, and anyone with information is urged to call police at 907-352-5401.