A 45-year-old man was ordered held without bail Monday after a judge found probable cause to hold him on investigation of two counts of homicide in connection with the deaths of his mother and stepfather on Saturday in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood, according to King County prosecutors.
Richard Parenteau Jr. had been involuntarily committed for mental-health issues several times over the past 1½ years and had made a number of documented threats to kill family members, police and neighbors, according to the probable-cause statement outlining the police case against him.
A neighbor who lives in the apartment complex next to the yellow bungalow on South Southern Street where Parenteau lived with his mother and stepfather told The Seattle Times that Parenteau would often scream obscenities, talk jibberish to himself and throw punches in the air.
Just before 6:30 a.m. Saturday, a pedestrian called 911 to report finding a body near Eighth Avenue South and South Portland Street on the Duwamish Waterway, the statement says. The man’s car keys and business cards, along with a bloody comforter and blanket, were found nearby, it says.
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Police identified the man as David Wells, 69, according to the statement.
Based on the injuries to his head, detectives determined that he’d been killed elsewhere, and crime-scene investigators found a blood trail that extended “just two short blocks,” it says. His clothing and the comforter had been soaked by high tide waters, the statement says.
After identifying Wells, detectives went to his house in the 700 block of South Southern Street, which is five blocks south of where Wells’ body was found, the statement says. A pickup and van registered to Wells were parked outside, it says.
Detectives obtained a search warrant and found Parenteau inside the house, the statement says.
While detectives were serving the search warrant, a second person called 911 to report finding a woman’s body under the First Avenue South bridge, according to the statement.
“Detectives and officers familiar with Linda Parenteau, the mother of the suspect, identified the deceased as her,” says the statement, which notes the dead woman had no teeth.
Linda Parenteau’s credit cards and false teeth were found inside the house, along with Wells’ wallet, credit cards and checkbook, says the statement.
Detectives also found “reddish smears in the carpet” that looked as though someone had attempted to clean them. The smears tested positive for the presence of human blood, according to the statement.
When asked by detectives about his mother, Richard Parenteau said he wanted to remain silent, the statement says.
According to public records, Linda Parenteau was 70 years old.
Parenteau is the father of two teenage sons but does not appear to have had much contact with them for most of their lives, court records show.
According to court documents, his ex-wife filed for divorce after Parenteau moved to Mexico, where he lived for six years before returning to the Seattle area in 2009.
After his return, a judge revoked his visitation rights with his sons until Parenteau completed a domestic-violence intervention program and a drug- and alcohol-treatment program, the records say.
It does not appear from the records that he ever completed either program.
His ex-wife accused him of long-term drug abuse and domestic violence, saying Parenteau once threw a clothes iron through her windshield in an attempt to keep her from leaving, the records say.
Patty Engrissei, who has lived in an apartment next door to Wells and Linda Parenteau for a decade, said a SWAT team had been called to the house at least three times in the past two years.
The last time, Richard Parenteau was taken out on a stretcher, she said.
“It scared the crap out of all of us, which is why we’re all so disturbed” by news of the double homicide, said Engrissei, 49.
She said after Parenteau’s father died three years ago, “Junior got more weird.”
“In just the past couple weeks, he’s been really weird,” she said.
On Friday, Engrissei said, she saw Parenteau grab a stick and hold it like an assault rifle, then pretend to shoot up her apartment building and another building across the street.
“He was like a ticking time bomb,” she said of Parenteau. And while she said she knew “when to keep my distance from him,” she was never afraid of Parenteau and often saw him volunteering at a food bank in the neighborhood.
“His mom loved him to death,” she said of Linda Parenteau, who went on walks every morning with Wells and another neighbor.
“They were just nice people. There were no problems at all next door, unless it was him,” she said, referring to Parenteau.
Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report.Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or firstname.lastname@example.org