GLEED, WA - Authorities have identified a body found buried in a barn in June near Yakima as that of a 45-year-old missing man.
The state crime lab confirmed Thursday that the body was that of Julian Wabinga, who had been missing since last fall.
The Yakima County Coroner's office says an autopsy showed Wabinga died of multiple gunshot wounds.
In June, Randy Shea Gardner led Yakima County sheriff's deputies to a barn in Gleed and uncovered Wabinga's body.
Wabinga had been living in a motor home on the property and hadn't been seen since August 2017.
In court documents, deputies say several people told them that Gardner shot Wabinga after an argument on the property.
Gardner was arrested in June on suspicion of murder and is being held in lieu of $1.5 million bail in the Yakima County jail.
YAKIMA, WA - 45-year-old Randy Shea Gardener was arrested on Thursday, June 14 for the death of an unidentified dead person buried in a barn.
Gardener reporterd to the Sheriff's Office the existence of the body being buried in the barn at 523 Old Naches Highway. He told detectives who he believes committed the murder. After interviewing many people, it was learned that Gardner was responsible for the death of the person.
An autopsy was performed on the unidentified dead person, and it was learned that it was a male with a gunshot wound found in the head and the left leg above the knee. It will take more time for him to be positively identified.
Gardner was booked into the Yakima County Jail on charges of first degree murder, assault, intimidating a witness, harassment, unlawful possession of a firearm.
The Sheriff's Office would like to thank the Pacific Northwest Violent Offenders Task Force for assisting them in the arrest of Gardner.
Gardner's bail is set at $1.5 million. It was also learned that Gardner is a convicted felon and served 15 years in Utah for aggravated assault. He will return to court in two weeks.
GLEED, WA (AP) - Authorities say a man who claimed to find a body while digging in a barn near Yakima this week had long known it was there.
The man claimed to have found the body Tuesday in the barn in Gleed, northwest of Yakima.
But the Yakima County Sheriff's Office says the man is actually a suspect in the case and that he told his mother in November there might be a body in the barn. The mother relayed that information to authorities, but a cadaver dog failed to find anything at the time.
An autopsy on Wednesday determined that the victim was at least 30 years old and had been shot to death. Authorities planned to try to identify him by using dental records.
The sheriff's office says there are at least two other persons of interest in the case, and it could take up to two weeks to identify the body.
YAKIMA, WA - People in the Gleed area might be a little on edge after finding out there was a body buried in a barn nearby.
The Yakima County Coroner says the body has been there for four months or more.
On Tuesday morning, Yakima County Sheriffs found the body buried in a barn on the 500 block of Old Naches Highway, just north of Highway 12.
This is actually the second time the Sheriffs received a tip indicating there was a body buried in that barn. The first tip came in back in November. At that time, Sheriffs brought dogs trained to find cadavers, but they had no luck. After receiving this same tip for the second time, they checked the property again and found the body.
Sheriffs believe the person lived on the property and say it was buried just one foot underground. An autopsy was done earlier today.
"The cause of death was due to a bullet wound, we know that he had been shot," said Jack Hawkins, Yakima County Coroner. "He was a male, a Caucasian male, probably in his late 30's, 40's, and bald."
Deputies say this is now a homicide investigation due to the gunshot wound.
Hawkins also says the body was so badly decomposed that it was hard to identify the person. They will now use dental records and x-rays to identify the man.
6-5-18 ORIGINAL STORY:
YAKIMA, WA – On June 5 at 9:20 a.m., Yakima County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to 523 Old Naches Highway for a report of a possible body buried in a barn.
After they were allowed on the property by the homeowner, deputies smelled an odor similar to that of a decomposing body coming from the barn. A search warrant is being requested and YCSO expects to be at the scene for many hours as they will methodically work to uncover the body. An autopsy will be conducted after the body is removed from the soil.
YCSO does not know the true identity of the person and detectives are interviewing people to get more information about the scene.
They are in the preliminary stages of this investigation and will send out an update when more information is available.