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Crime News

Suspect Arrested In Double Murder Of Couple Whose Remains Were Found Jammed In Suitcase

The remains of Jessica Lewis, 35, and Austin Wenner, 27, were found in Seattle by a pair of teens filming a scavenger hunt on TikTok.

By Dorian Geiger
Jess Lewis Austin Wenner Fb

Police have arrested a suspect in connection with the double murder of a couple whose remains were found inside a suitcase that had washed ashore in West Seattle earlier this summer. 

Michael Lee Dudley, 62, was booked on Aug. 19 on two counts of homicide in the killings of Jessica Lewis, 35, and Austin Wenner, 27, who were murdered in June, online jail records show.

On June 19, two teenagers who were making a TikTok video found a suitcase with a “foul odor” emanating from it at Duwamish Head, Seattle Police Detective Mark Jamieson previously told Oxygen.com. The remains of Lewis and Wenner, who had been shot, were found inside bags contained in the suitcase, authorities said. Law enforcement suspected the couple had been killed approximately 10 days earlier and had been entombed inside the luggage until the gruesome discovery was made. 

Jess Lewis Austin Wenner Fb

Dudley, who was Lewis and Wenner’s landlord, allegedly had clashed with the pair over rent money, according to court documents, Seattle television station KING-TV reported. Dudley supposedly wanted Lewis and Wenner to move out, according to the Seattle Times.

Witnesses heard gunshots coming from the residence Dudley rented out to the couple on June 9. When authorities responded to the home, no one answered, according to the Seattle Times. Detectives, who have alleged the suitcases that washed up in June belonged to Dudley, later found blood and bullet holes after searching the home. 

Dudley is being held at a King County jailhouse on a $5 million bond, according to online jail records. The 62-year-old is expected to be formally charged this week.

“I still can’t even comprehend that he would even be capable of doing this,” Marlys Gordon, Dudley’s ex-girlfriend, told KING-TV. “That is beyond me.”

But Gordon, who dated Dudley on-and-off for more than a decade, alleged that he also had a violent streak and once assaulted her.

"He started to hit me and grab my hair and my head, and threw me on the floor and hit my head into the hardwood floor,” she said. 

Gordon said that Dudley was later arrested and charged with assault.

“[He] threw me and my stuff on his patio out the door, and came out and hit my head on the patio, did that with one hand and held a gun in another hand.”

Wenner and Lewis both grew up in Washington. They had been dating for eight years, according to the Seattle Times. Wenner’s family described him as having a “big heart,” while Lewis was said to be a “ray of sunshine, the newspaper reported.