Days after a Washington state high school football player was reported missing under suspicious circumstances, he was found safe and charged with murder in the murder of his mother’s ex-partner , according to court documents filed Tuesday.
The 16-year-old has been charged with first-degree murder and other crimes in the killing of a man, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Pierce County Superior Court.
His friend, a minor, was also charged with murder in the murder, according to the documents. It is unclear whether they entered a plea.
NBC News does not generally identify minors who have been charged with a crime.
The teenager was reported missing to authorities in neighboring Thurston County on August 31, according to the affidavit. The sheriff’s office said he left his home at 4 p.m. for football practice, but never arrived.
His damaged truck was found on the side of a road about 13 miles south, with blood on the steering wheel and the driver’s side door, according to the affidavit. His cell phone was found smashed on the sidewalk.
The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office called his disappearance “suspicious” and asked the public for help in locating him.
Authorities dispatched sleuths and investigators to search a state park where he was last seen, and officials told reporters they would “explore all advice and avenues” to bring the teenager home. him safely.
On September 1, 36 hours after the teenager was reported missing, he was found, according to the affidavit. He was 3 miles from his truck and was wearing only shorts.
He initially told investigators he had no idea where he was, although he later claimed people would hurt him if he revealed what had happened. past, the affidavit states.
The same day the teenager was found, Pierce County Sheriff’s deputies, responding to a call for a welfare check, found the decomposing body of a man in his home. A medical examiner later concluded that he appeared to have been shot in the head and stabbed multiple times, according to the affidavit.
A day later, on September 2, the teen’s father called a Thurston County detective and said his son told him that the victim’s “biker buddies” had pressured the teen to leave. robbed the man and had threatened to hurt him if he refused, according to the affidavit.
According to the teen’s father, the teenager “confided” to his friend, “and the two developed a ‘plot’ to steal items from a safe,” the affidavit states.
The couple went to the victim’s home, where the teenager knew where the man’s gun was stored, the affidavit says, citing his father. When the man appeared, the friend allegedly stabbed him, according to the teenager’s father.
The teenager then described hearing two gunshots, his father told authorities. The weapon used in the murder was abandoned near his home, his father said, according to the affidavit.
The teen’s friend’s father also called authorities and said he had information about a crime in Pierce County involving the football player, according to the affidavit. The details he provided were not immediately clear, but the affidavit described the crime as a homicide.
Investigators reviewed video from inside the home showing that on the morning of August 28, two “skinny” boys believed to be the two teenagers entered the victim’s home through a dog door, the affidavit states. About 40 minutes later, the victim could be seen leaving his garage before “stumbling” inside, the affidavit states. Minutes later, the suspects could be seen leaving the house.
According to the footballer’s father, his son blamed his disappearance on the gang, saying they pulled him from his truck and smashed his face against the interior, the affidavit states. The gang then put him in an SUV and brutalized him before releasing him without most of his clothes, the affidavit says, citing the father.
Lawyers for the teenagers did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday. They were being held on $1 million bond, according to jail and court records.
The superintendent of the school district where the teenager played football did not immediately respond to a request for comment.