A 15-year-old boy who led police to a backpack containing the severed head of a friend whose body was found after a Tacoma house fire was charged Thursday with helping in the coverup.
The News Tribune is not naming the teen because he is underage. Pierce County prosecutors said they are seeking to charge him as an adult because of the horrific facts of the case and his criminal history.
He was arraigned Thursday on one count of first-degree rendering criminal assistance and one degree of first-degree arson. He is being held at Remann Hall Juvenile Detention Center.
His mother, Lindsey Leupold, 36, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to first-degree rendering criminal assistance and is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail.
The teen’s uncle, Matthew Leupold, 32, is being held without bail after pleading not guilty to two counts of first-degree aggravated murder and first-degree arson.
The teen denied killing Mary Buras, 22, and Theresa Greenhalgh, 31, but allegedly admitted to watching his uncle attack the women with his fists and a hammer before decapitating them.
The homicides occurred Jan. 4 at a house in the 3700 block of South Yakima Avenue where Buras and Greenhalgh periodically stayed at the homeowner’s request during a renovation of the first floor.
The group was reportedly using methamphetamine and heroin in an upstairs bedroom when Matthew Leupold became “possessed” and heard a voice telling him to kill “her,” according to court records.
The teen told detectives he refused to strike one of the victims with a speaker after Matthew Leupold told him to do so.
Lindsey Leupold and the teen left the bedroom midway through the attacks and went into another upstairs bedroom to console each other, according to charging papers.
Neither one called for help.
The remains of Buras and Greenhalgh were discovered early Jan. 6 after firefighters put out a fire that started in the upstairs bathroom.
One woman was found in the bathtub; the other was found near the top of the stairs.
The teen told police he returned to the house with his uncle the day after the deaths and doused the bedroom with kerosene. Matthew Leupold allegedly dumped kerosene in the bathroom and set the house on fire.
Both fled with backpacks.
After the teen was arrested Monday, he led detectives to where they’d abandoned evidence and to a backpack containing one of the victim’s heads.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653