A Kentucky man who is accused of raping a woman at a North Bend truck stop on Tuesday morning was found dead in the cab of his big rig at a truck stop in Fife a few hours later. Police will now use his DNA to search for other possible victims.
A dead trucker’s DNA will be entered into a national law-enforcement database to determine whether he is linked to unsolved sexual assaults following an alleged rape at a North Bend truck stop Tuesday morning, according to Snoqualmie police.
The trucker was found dead in his cab about five hours later and 45 miles away, at Love’s Travel Stop in Fife, said Snoqualmie police Capt. Nick Almquist. Though his cause of death is still under investigation, Almquist said it appears the man may have died from some medical issue.
The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the Kentucky man as 44-year-old Dushon Lyte Sr. Attempts to contact relatives were not successful.
According to Almquist, an employee at the Travel Centers of America truck stop off Interstate 90 near North Bend called 911 around 8 a.m. Tuesday after seeing the alleged victim near the stop’s free showers.
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The woman had obvious injuries to her face and the employee “knew something was wrong,” he said.
Almquist said the woman, who is in her mid-20s, is known to police as a transient with mental-health issues, but she is not involved in prostitution.
The woman told police she had climbed into the cab of Lyte’s truck, where she said she was attacked.
“It’s basically a situation where she went into the cab with the truck driver,” he said. After the alleged rape, “She was able to leave freely of her own will,” Almquist said.
The woman was taken to Overlake Medical Center for a rape examination and interview with police, who left her in the care of the hospital’s victim-resource center, he said.
Meanwhile, Snoqualmie police — which provides law-enforcement services to the city of North Bend — started tracking the semitruck, according to Almquist. Based on witness statements and video-surveillance footage, police figured out the trucker was working for CRST Malone, he said.
Working with the trucking company, police and the Washington State Patrol used the truck’s GPS system to track the semi to Fife — and immediately noticed it was parked “a little oddly,” Almquist said.
Before impounding the truck, officers checked the cab and found Lyte’s body, he said.
“Potential other victims may be out there,” Almquist said, which is why Lyte’s DNA will be collected and entered into the national database to determine whether he may be connected to other sex crimes.
A call to CRST Malone’s corporate office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was not immediately returned Friday.