By Janelle Griffith
A man and a woman whose remains were found inside suitcases
that washed ashore on a beach in West Seattle last month died from gunshot
wounds, officials said.
The deaths of Jessica Lewis, 35, and Austin Wenner, 27,
whose remains were found June 19, have been ruled homicides, said James Apa, a
spokesman for the King County Medical Examiner's Office.
Jessica Lewis and her boyfriend, Austin "Cash"
Apa said Lewis died from multiple gunshot wounds and Wenner
died from a gunshot wound to the torso. They both died June 10, he said.
On the afternoon of June 19, police responded to a call from
teenagers about a suspicious bag on the beach near the water by Alki Avenue SW,
Seattle police said.
The teens were recording TikTok videos, police said. Another
bag was found in the water, and both contained human remains, according to
Detective Mark Jamieson told NBC News that the teens did not
open the suitcase and that police found a handful of other bags containing
remains near the water that afternoon.
"They discovered the bags because it was a suitcase on
the beach and it had a foul odor to it," Jamieson said Thursday.
"What was reported to us was a suitcase that smelled bad."
The investigation is ongoing, and "detectives do not
believe this case is connected to any other investigations in the Puget Sound
area," police said.
Gina Jaschke, an aunt of Lewis', told NBC affiliate KING of
Seattle that her niece worked as a caregiver for developmentally disabled
people. She described her as "a ray of sunshine." Jaschke did not
immediately return a request for an interview Thursday.
The couple were "good-hearted people," according
to a GoFundMe launched by Jaschke to raise money for a reward to aid in the
"Whether it's out of their heart they turn somebody in
or out of the cash, it doesn't matter as long as somebody is held accountable
for this," Jaschke told KING.
Jaschke said Lewis leaves behind four children.