Editor’s note: Compiled from reports to Tacoma Police.
Nov. 4: The toxic love triangle drew burning lines inside a vicious circle of addiction.
In the space of four days, it pulled law enforcement officers from Tacoma, Pierce County and Steilacoom into a case that started out as a missing-persons report, and ended with the arrests of two brothers on suspicion of kidnapping and attempted rape. The story spreads across five police reports.
The first call came Nov. 4, when a 29-year-old Spanaway man called 911 to say his ex-girlfriend was being held against her will by her new boyfriend somewhere in Tacoma. Sheriff’s deputies tried to track the phone, but had no luck.
Beneath that call lurked a deeper story. Boyfriend A had discovered his girlfriend, 29, was dating another man.
Boyfriend B was 50 – a career criminal with a long history that included almost 30 convictions. A plea bargain in 2008 had saved him from a life sentence on a third strike.
The girlfriend had a three-year-old child with Boyfriend A, along with an addiction to heroin. Boyfriend B had heroin and stayed at a hotel in the 7000 block of Pacific Avenue.
Boyfriend A called and demanded a meeting with Boyfriend B at a drug store parking lot nearby. In the hotel room, Boyfriend B turned to the girlfriend and said he’d kill her if he saw something he didn’t like.
Alone, the girlfriend sent a text message to Boyfriend A, warning him not to say anything; Boyfriend B had threatened to kill her.
The two boyfriends met in the parking lot. Boyfriend B said he wouldn’t hurt the girlfriend.
Boyfriend A left the parking lot. Boyfriend B went back to the hotel. His brother and another woman were in the room. He told them to leave. They went. He grabbed the girlfriend by the throat, punched her in the face and choked her into unconsciousness, according to one report.
She woke up later that night and tried to leave. Boyfriend B stopped her and said he’d kill her and her kids if she tried to leave. She would die tonight or tomorrow. He’d let her see her kids one more time. He turned to his brother and said it would take two people to cut up the girlfriend’s body.
She fell asleep and woke in the middle of the night. Her clothes had been stripped. Boyfriend B was on top of her. She fought him.
Nov. 5: Boyfriend A got another series of text messages. The girlfriend said she’d been beaten up and couldn’t leave the hotel. Don’t tell Boyfriend B, she warned – or he would “finish the job.”
Boyfriend A called 911 again. This time, he spoke to a Tacoma officer, who unraveled the complicated story.
The officer called the girlfriend’s father, who confirmed her history of drug use. Dad said his daughter called him the previous night and said she was fine.
The officer tried to track the girlfriend’s phone. The signal kept moving, and abruptly disappeared. Armed with the name of Boyfriend B, and a sense of his criminal history, the officer sought a favor from police in Steilacoom. They checked with Boyfriend B’s mother, who said her son wasn’t home.
The officer didn’t know it yet, but the girlfriend had been driving back and forth to a grocery store at Boyfriend B’s direction. Her phone had been taken, and the number had been changed to avoid detection. The hotel manager had called Boyfriend B, and told him the cops were looking for him.
Boyfriend A got a menacing text message: “What did she tell you?” it said, but the word wasn’t “she.”
Boyfriend A drove to the hotel.
At about 5:15 p.m., another 911 call came in. It was the girlfriend. She said her boyfriends were fighting in the hotel parking lot.
The fight hadn’t lasted long. Boyfriend B and his brother, wielding a baseball bat and a metal pole, came at Boyfriend A and started swinging at him. Boyfriend A ran to his truck and fled. The girlfriend, sensing the moment, grabbed her keys and belongings, ran to her car and followed. A few minutes later, she and Boyfriend A were riding together.
When officers arrived at the hotel, they rounded up Boyfriend B and his brother. Boyfriend B denied doing anything to the girlfriend.
Officers spoke to the girlfriend, who told her story in detail. She and Boyfriend A wanted to press charges. Officers arrested Boyfriend B and his brother on suspicion of unlawful imprisonment, attempted rape and second-degree assault.
The brother needed medical attention. Officers took him to a local hospital and cited him, but couldn’t stay to monitor his treatment. Out of their sight, he fled.
Nov. 8: The brother was a fugitive, and he also had an active warrant from the Department of Corrections.
Three officers and a state corrections specialist staked out the hotel on Pacific Avenue. They spotted the brother in the parking lot and walked toward him.
The brother spotted the quartet of officers and knew he was in trouble. He held a plastic bag in his hand and tossed it into an open hotel room. Officers scooped it up. The brown gunk tested positive for heroin.
Why did he leave the hospital? The brother said he didn’t know he had to go to jail.
Did he remember being arrested? Yes – but he didn’t know he had to go to jail.
Officers booked the brother into the Pierce County Jail on the state warrant, suspicion of drug possession and the earlier offenses.