Washington state investigators investigating the disappearance of a woman last seen attending a Major League Baseball game say they have found an unidentified body in a remote area not far from the he location where the missing woman’s 24-year-old son managed to fight off an assailant after he was kidnapped from his home, police confirmed to Law&Crime.
Leticia Martinez-Cosman, 58, has been missing since attending a Mariners game at T-Mobile Park with Brett Michael Gitchel, 46, on Friday evening March 31. In a bizarre twist, authorities say that in the early morning of Sunday, April 2, Gitchel kidnapped Martinez-Cosman’s special-needs son, Patrick Cosman, and drove him around for hours before stopping the car and attempt to strangle him to death. Fortunately, Cosman was able to escape and get help before he was seriously injured.
“Seattle Police Department Homicide Detectives followed leads obtained during the investigation that resulted in the recovery of a deceased subject in the Renton area Tuesday afternoon,” Detective Judinna J wrote. SPD Public Affairs Gulpan in an email to Law&Crime. “The King County Medical Examiner’s Office will confirm the identity of the deceased and the cause and manner of death.”
The body was found less than a mile from where Cosman escaped his kidnapper/attacker, according to a report by Seattle ABC affiliate KNWN. The report said the body had been left in a roadside ditch in a cul-de-sac in an uninhabited part of Renton.
On April 5, Gitchel was arrested and charged with a series of crimes related to the kidnapping and assault of Cosman, including attempted first degree murder, first degree kidnapping and unlawful possession of a firearm.
Gitchel was also charged with one count of first degree larceny and second degree arson. The theft stems from $10,000 worth of jewelry allegedly stolen from a Seattle Costco while the arson charge stems from Gitchel allegedly using an accelerant to set Martinez-Cosman’s car on fire less than 2 miles from the where the Mariners play.
According to a Seattle Times report, Martinez-Cosman and a friend first met Gitchel at a Seattle Costco on March 19 and planned to attend the March 31 baseball game. Martinez-Cosman allegedly sent the friend a selfie of herself and Gitchel at the game, which the friend later gave to police.
The day after the game, Martinez-Cosman’s brother reportedly started receiving “strange and unusual” text messages from his phone. It was not immediately clear what the messages said, but his attempts to call Martinez-Cosman went straight to voicemail.
Several hours later, around 2 a.m. on Sunday, Patrick Cosman – who lives with Martinez-Cosman – was awakened by a stranger inside his home knocking on his bedroom door, the Times reported. The man allegedly convinced Cosman to get into his SUV, telling him Martinez-Cosman had been in an accident and they needed to get to the hospital.
However, after driving for several hours, the man allegedly stopped the SUV, got into the backseat and attempted to strangle Cosman, who was sitting in the passenger seat. Cosman later told police that while the stranger was trying to kill him, he told the son he was “doing this for his mother and it was to save her from being committed to an institution because of his terms,” a police affidavit. would have said.
Cosman reportedly escaped by biting off the man’s arm, then called his father in Texas, who contacted authorities. Police said they found Cosman covered in blood when they arrived, and he told officers he hadn’t heard from his mother since Friday, the Times reported.
An affidavit obtained by Tacoma radio station KIRO-FM said that when Gitchel was questioned he had “numerous visible injuries to his body, including numerous cuts and scrapes on his hands”, as well as bruising to his face. .
Prosecutors say surveillance footage and cellphone location data placed Gitchel at Cosman’s home when he was abducted and in the same area where Cosman was strangled when he escaped.
Additionally, location data would have placed Gitchel in the 900 block of Golf Drive South, where authorities found Martinez-Cosman’s Honda CRV “completely engulfed” in flames around 7 a.m. on April 2. A mile from where Martinez-Cosman’s car was found, Gitchel bought a canister of gas, gasoline and a lighter about half an hour before the vehicle was set on fire, the Times reported. . A cartridge appearing to match the one purchased by Gitchel was reportedly found at the scene of the fire.
Gitchel is currently being held in the King County Correctional Facility on $5 million bail, records show.
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