Victim, suspect identified in Lakeland Hills murder; unattended baby found at victim's home
Pierce County Sheriff’s deputies late Wednesday located a suspect in the death of a 64-year-old woman who was found partly burned Tuesday alongside a Pierce County Road.
Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said Lance Rougeau, 25, was found in Kent and is now in custody.
Earlier in the day, investigators entered the Kent home of the victim, Linda K. Sweezer, 64, in search of clues. Instead they found an abandoned 4-month-old girl.
The baby was taken to Seattle Children’s Hospital, where she is being treated for dehydration and expected to recover.
Evidence at the scene where the victim was left led investigators to the Kent home, where the baby was in her crib in the otherwise unoccupied home.
“We’re glad this investigation went as quick as it did or that infant may have had to go another day or two without being discovered,” Troyer said Wednesday at a press conference in Tacoma.
Sweezer is believed to have been killed at her residence in the 23200 block of 105th Avenue Southeast and then moved to the scene in the Lakeland Hills area, Troyer said. Investigators believe Sweezer’s body was set on fire there.
Detectives are trying to determine the relationship between Sweezer and Rougeau.
Detectives have learned that Sweezer, the baby’s grandmother, was caring for her and in the process of obtaining custody.
Child Protective Services has found a temporary home for the infant, Troyer said.
While in Sweezer’s home, detectives from the Sheriff’s Department and Kent police found evidence that suggested she was killed there.
Evidence where Sweezer’s body was found near 24th Street Court East and 169th Avenue, interviews with neighborhoods and discovery of Sweezer’s vehicle by Auburn police led to the Kent home, Troyer said.
Until investigators entered the home they were unaware of the infant’s existence, he said.
Detectives are looking for Sweezer’s other vehicle, a bronze, 2003 Chevrolet Impala with Washington license plate AGX9423.