2 charged in connection to missing Bonney Lake teen
Pierce County prosecutors charged two suspects Tuesday with kidnapping and other crimes in connection with a missing Bonney Lake teenager.
Christopher Fitzpatrick, 39, and Maria Ann Counts, 29, pleaded not guilty at arraignment.
They're accused of first-degree kidnapping, promoting commercial sex abuse of a minor, providing drugs to a minor, possession of child pornography and two counts of third-degree child rape.
Superior Court Judge Stephanie Arend set bail at $2 million for Fitzpatrick and at $500,000 for Counts.
Deputy prosecutor John Neeb told the court Tuesday that the 15-year-old victim, Lileana "Lily" Christopherson, remained missing.
"She has not yet been found," he said.
Charging papers give this account of her disappearance:
The girl's mother told police the teen was missing and last seen in her room about 1 a.m. May 9. When the mother checked on her daughter at 8 a.m., the girl was gone.
In the days that followed, classmates who shared email accounts with Christopherson said the passwords had been changed, and that they couldn't log into the accounts.
Christopherson's mother also found the girl's Facebook password had been changed.
Last week, a detective interviewed an acquaintance of the teen, an 18-year-old man who said he and the girl had hung out together the day she went missing. He said they went to the Federal Way Transit Center, where they met a man and woman investigators later identified as Counts and Fitzpatrick.
The 18-year-old said they went to an RV in the area, used a synthetic hallucinogen and then went to an apartment. That's where he said he heard Counts and Fitzpatrick tell Christopherson they could take her to a hotel and that she could get paid if she took photos.
The woman asked the 18-year-old to take a walk with her. During the walk, she told him Christopherson wanted him to go away. Instead, he ran back to the apartment, where the man and woman yelled for him to leave. Christopherson called out that it was OK for him to go, and to "stay safe."
Another witness said the group all left together.
Christopherson wasn't in the apartment when police searched it and found zip-ties and a shovel in the dining room.
Police learned Counts, Fitzpatrick and Christopherson went to a Tacoma residence, but they left a day or two before police visited it. Christopherson also wasn't at the Tumwater motel where investigators found and arrested Counts on Thursday.
They learned three people had been connected with the room, including a young woman.
Messages on Counts' phone suggested she and Fiztpatrick were promoting prostitution with the girl. Officers also found photos of the girl on Counts' phone.
Counts said she knew police were looking for Christopherson, and that the three had moved around to keep from being found.
Investigators found and arrested Fitzpatrick on Saturday at a Lakewood home. He had a bench warrant at the time for failing to register as a sex offender. He pleaded not guilty to the charge at arraignment Tuesday.
Fitzpatrick was dressed in a smock in court meant to prevent suicide. Shortly after his court appearance, he tried to kill himself about 4 p.m. at the Pierce County Jail, sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said.
Fitzpatrick was quickly taken to a hospital, and Troyer said he was expected to fully recover and be booked back into the jail soon.
His criminal history includes two prior convictions for failing to register as a sex offender, third-degree assault and felony harassment for sexually assaulting his then-wife. When police arrested him in that case, according to charging papers, they found him in a motel room having sex with a 16-year-old girl who appeared tied to a bed.
Anyone with information about Christopherson's whereabouts is asked to call 911 or the U.S. Marshals hot line at 206-370-8600.