A Young Couple Was Found Dismembered in Suitcases Along Wash. Beach — and Landlord Is Charged

A 62-year-old Washington man faces murder charges after his tenants' dismembered bodies were found in suitcases that washed up on the rocky coast of Seattle in June

Jessica Lewis; Austin Wenner
Jessica Lewis and Austin Wenner. Photo: Facebook

A 62-year-old Washington landlord has been charged in the deaths of his two young tenants, whose dismembered bodies were found in suitcases that washed up on shore in Seattle in June.

On Monday, Michael Lee Dudley of Burien was charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Jessica Lewis, 35, and Austin Wenner, 27, Casey McNerthney of the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office confirms to PEOPLE.

He was arrested on Wednesday at about 8:30 p.m. in his home on Ambaum Boulevard South in Burien, about 10 miles south of Seattle, The Seattle Times reports.

Jessica Lewis
Jessica Lewis. Facebook

He was questioned and booked into the King County Jail.

His bail was set at $5 million.

The situation came to light on June 19, when two teenage girls who were filming a TikTok video discovered the couple's remains in garbage bags stuffed inside suitcases that had washed up on the rocky shores of Duwamish Head in West Seattle.

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In the footage the teens filmed, one of the girls is seen using a stick to open up one of the bags.

Lewis, a mother of four, had been shot several times, say police.

Wenner died of a single gunshot wound, say police.

Austin Wenner
Austin Wenner. Facebook

Authorities believe the killings took place on June 16.

According to charging documents obtained by PEOPLE, Lewis and Wenner were renting a room in Dudley's home and had trouble paying the $1,500 monthly rent.

On the night of June 9, Dudley allegedly got into an argument with the couple because he wanted them to move out, the documents show.

Neighbors allegedly heard a loud argument at the house and a male voice pleading, "Please don't do this. Just let me leave," state the documents.

Shortly after, gunshots were fired, the documents state.

Dudley had the couple staying in a room of his home where bullets and blood were found. It had been recently cleaned and painted, according to Dudley's arrest report, Newsweek reports.

Dudley remains held in the King County Jail.

He is expected to enter a plea at his arraignment on Sept. 8.

It is unclear whether he has retained an attorney who can speak on his behalf.

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