Everett, WA – The Everett Police Department has confirmed that a body found in rural Skagit County on Tuesday, off of Highway 9 between Big Lake and Lake McMurray is believed to be that of a missing landlord from Everett, Washington that went missing on Saturday afternoon.
The Investigation began on afternoon of Saturday , March 28th, 2020 when the landlord’s wife called 9-1-1 to report her 67-year old husband missing under suspicious circumstances.
The wife told officers that her husband had left their home in Mukilteo earlier in the day to check on one of their rental properties in the 2100 block of Madison Street in South Everett, but had not returned home. The wife became concerned when she could not reach her husband and drove to the property to find her husband. When she arrived, she found his truck and cell phone outside the property, but he was no where to be found. A tenant of the property was cleaning up what appeared to be blood on the sidewalk and the tenant abruptly left when the wife showed up.
Upon arrival, police observed the fresh blood outside the rental unit and forced their way into the rental building and discovered more blood inside along with evidence that someone had been attempting to clean up blood with strong chemicals. The husband was not located inside the residence.
Police then tracked down the tenant in Marysvile and detained him and transported him for questioning. The tenants stories became inconsistent during questioning and the 40-year old man was booked into the Snohomish County Jail on an Investigative Hold for Investigation of Murder and tampering with physical evidence.
A passerby in Skagit County, provided Law Enforcement with information that led them to human remains on Monday. March 30th, 2020. Everett Police said in a press release that they believe the body recovered was that of the landlord, but official identification of the remains as well as the manner and cause of death would be released by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Today, April 1st, 2020, the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office released a press release stating they had completed the examination and confirmed the identification of the remains found near State Route 9 between State Route 534 and Big Lake Boulevard in Skagit County on March 30th, 2020. The Decedent is identified as 67-year old Howard P. Benzel of Mukilteo, Washington. The cause of death was listed as blunt force injuries and the manner of death was listed as Homicide.
The suspect, identified through jail records as Frank Edmund Walton, remains in the Snohomish County jail on Investigation of 2nd Degree Murder and Tampering with Physical Evidence.