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Seattle Authorities Searching For Woman Who Disappeared After Attending Baseball Game Find Unidentified Body
Seattle investigators found an unidentified body while searching for missing mother Leticia Martinez-Cosman, who disappeared after attending a baseball game with Brett Gitchel, who has been charged with subsequently kidnapping and trying to kill her son.
Seattle authorities investigating the disappearance of a woman after she attended a baseball game have discovered a body, though they haven't confirmed its identity yet.
Leticia Martinez-Cosman, 58, was last seen on March 31 at T-Mobile Park taking a selfie with Brett Gitchel, 46, who is now jailed on charges of attempted murder, kidnapping, unlawful possession of a firearm, theft, and arson, according to local news outlet KOMO News.
Gitchel’s charges don’t pertain to Martinez-Cosman’s disappearance, but are in connection with the alleged abduction of her son, who has intellectual disabilities. Gitchel awoke the 24-year-old in the early morning hours of April 1, explaining that his mother had been in an accident and offering to bring him to the hospital, authorities allege.
The son described their drive in Gitchel’s SUV as one that “seemed like hours,” according to court documents cited by KOMO News. Gitchel allegedly said he needed to stop to vehicle to get water and subsequently climbed into the backseat to strangle the victim, who bit Gitchel on the hand and repeatedly banged his head against the car horn, according to the documents.
Several 911 calls were made by nearby residents who noticed a suspicious person lurking in the bushes after hearing a car horn repeatedly honk at 4 a.m. Officers soon found Martinez-Cosman’s son hiding in the bushes, covered in blood.
Before Martinez-Cosman’s son escaped from the SUV, Gitchel allegedly told him that “he was doing this for his mother and that this was to spare him from being committed to an institution because of his conditions,” according to charging documents cited by the Seattle Times.
Officials allegedly obtained security footage that showed Gitchel outside of Martinez-Cosman’s home later that day. Cellphone records indicate that Gitchel went to the 900 block of Golf Drive South, about one and a half miles from T-Mobile Park. Firefighters were called to that scene to find a vehicle engulfed by flames, later identified as Martinez-Cosman’s Honda CRV, around 7 a.m. on April 2, the Seattle Times reported.
Additional surveillance footage from a Shell gas station allegedly showed Gitchel arrive 30 minutes prior to the fire, when he purchased a gas canister and lighter, consistent with the canister found near the fire, according to the Times.
Martinez-Cosman first met Gitchel on March 19 at a south Seattle Costco. They attended the Seattle Mariners game together on March 31. She was reported missing by her brother on April 2 after he was unable to contact her and became aware of the alleged attack on his nephew, according to the Seattle Times.
Gitchel was arrested on April 5 at a Shoreline Costco and is being held on a $5 million bail.
The identity of the body found in a ditch on the side of the road in Renton is still unknown, and the King County Medical Examiner’s office is working to confirm both the identity of the body and cause and manner of death.