Police were called to the parking lot of an apartment complex in Seattle’s Bitter Lake neighborhood on Feb. 19, where they discovered the body of a 19-year-old Island County man buried in a snowbank with only his toes, nose and part of his chest visible, according to King County prosecutors.
The King County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the victim as Mikah Macarro and determined he died from a close-range gunshot wound to the head. His death was ruled a homicide.
A winter storm dumped snow on the Seattle area the weekend before Macarro’s body was found.
Last week, Seattle police arrested two men in connection with Macarro’s death and a third turned himself in to police the following day, according to an item posted Thursday on the Police Department’s online blotter.
Prosecutors on Monday charged Griffin Blakely, 19, of Seattle, and Jorge Ruelas-Sanchez, 20, of Shoreline, with second-degree murder; criminal charges have not yet been filed against the third suspect and the investigation into Macarro’s death is ongoing, said a spokesperson for Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.
Blakely and Ruelas-Sanchez remain jailed in lieu of $1 million each, while the third man, who is 19, is being held on $750,000 bail, jail records show.
Court records show Blakely and another man were charged in Pierce County Superior Court in May with promoting the commercial sex abuse of a minor, accused of pimping out a 17-year-old girl. Blakely was released from jail on that charge, which is still pending, in June after posting $15,000 bail, according to the records.
According to King County prosecutors, Ruelas-Sanchez doesn’t have any adult criminal convictions, though it appears he has a sealed juvenile criminal matter in Snohomish County Juvenile Court.
Blakely and Ruelas-Sanchez are to be arraigned March 15. Court records do not yet indicate which attorneys are representing them.
Reached by phone Monday, Macarro’s father declined to comment and asked for privacy as the family grieves.
While the charges don’t spell out a motive for Macarro’s killing, the theft of a pair of Air Force 1 sneakers that Macarro had given to a friend and were later found in a search of Ruelas-Sanchez’s bedroom appears to have something to do with it, according to the charges.
Two days after Macarro’s body was found in the North Seattle snowbank, Seattle police homicide detectives interviewed one of his friends, who said he, Macarro and another friend traveled from Island County to Blakely’s Lake City apartment on Feb. 17, charging papers say. Ruelas-Sanchez and the third suspect were also at the apartment.
The friend said that when he woke the next morning, the Air Force 1 shoes he had been wearing were missing, the charges say. After Macarro and his two friends left the apartment in Macarro’s white Lexus SUV to go home to Island County, the friend told police Macarro got a message that the shoes had been found and so they returned to Blakely’s apartment complex.
Video-surveillance footage from the complex showed Blakely, Ruelas-Sanchez and the third suspect walk east from the complex 10 minutes before Macarro returned, then showed Macarro walking in the same direction as the three suspects, according to the charges. Other cameras also captured footage of Ruelas-Sanchez’s car, a green Chrysler 300, as it was driven to the area where Macarro’s body was found. There, the footage showed at least one person got out of the vehicle before it left the way it came 14 minutes later. Later footage showed a piece of cloth — which wasn’t there in the earlier footage — had been used to obscure the Chrysler’s rear license plate, say the charges.
Police seized the Chrysler on Feb. 22 and a preliminary search showed someone tried unsuccessfully to clean blood from the back seat where a bullet defect was also found, indicating that Macarro was fatally shot at close range while seated behind the driver, according to charging papers.
After arresting Blakely and Ruelas-Sanchez last week, Seattle police spoke to Blakely’s co-workers at an auto parts store in Covington; detectives learned Blakely, who usually takes public transit, arrived late to work on Feb. 18 in a white Lexus SUV and then said he needed to leave early because he’d gotten a call from his friend’s mother that his friend had been shot, an apparent reference to Macarro, say the charges.
A detective noted that Macarro’s body wasn’t found until the next morning and “his family had no way of knowing what happened to him prior to his body being located in the snowbank,” according to the charges.