Twenty-one-year-old Jonathon Adamson and 16-year-old Benito Marquez have been arrested for the murder of 16-year-old Benjamin Eastman in some woods located in Washington state. Q13 Fox reports that charges brought against them in Lewis County Superior Court include first-degree murder, first-degree rape, tampering with physical evidence, and unlawful disposal of remains. Prosecutors decided Monday to charge Marquez as an adult, according to The New York Post.
According to a press release from the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, Benjamin Eastman’s family reported him missing about 7:45 a.m. on June 27. He lived with his father who had not seen him since June 23 when he was supposed to meet up with a friend. He never showed up, and friends and family had been searching for him ever since with no luck. When officials interviewed the friend, Benito Marquez, he said he had not seen Benjamin for several days.
On June 28, deputies received information about a shallow grave and were told by the people who owned the property that it was the burial site of a pet. Because the property belonged to relatives of Eastman’s friend, deputies were suspicious and dug up the grave where they found the remains of a body later identified as those of Benjamin Eastman.
“This is a horrific and senseless death that will have a lasting impact on this small community, surrounding area, and all involved.” https://t.co/X1m4uE9eQN— The Olympian (@theolympian) June 30, 2018
Court documents indicate that Adamson and Marquez lured Benjamin Eastman into the woods on June 24 for a camping trip. Once they arrived, they threw him to the ground and proceeded to assault him for 20 to 45 minutes. Adamson estimated the number of times they kicked him during that time at over 100, a figure that a pathologist indicated aligns with the injuries Eastman sustained. Adamson also reportedly told officials that they raped the 16-year-old with a stick while he was still alive. To make sure he was dead, the brothers hit Benjamin in the head with a rock. It was this blow that the coroner cited as the cause of death. Adamson and Marquez then buried Eastman and burned his clothes, their own clothes, and the shovel they had used to dig the grave. Afraid the grave would be found, Adamson and Marquez dug up their victim and buried him in a different spot, this time marking it with a cross made of sticks.
At a Tuesday night vigil outside Benjamin Eastman’s high school, his principal, Chris Schumaker, spoke of the small community’s shock and sadness over the brutal murder.
“I think any community would say that’s not supposed to happen here. We’re small. We’re supposed to be protected from that kind of stuff. We’re small town USA, that stuff doesn’t happen here. And all of sudden it happens and you’re shocked. And you’re shocked. And you’re scared. And you’re shocked and you’re scared some more. And you grieve and then you try to build your life back together. And as parents, we just kind of tell our kids, we’ll be OK and we will move forward. And as a school, we support our kids.”
Friends described Benjamin as “a bright, shining soul” and “always joking.” Another said, “if you ever needed something he was there. He’d give you the shirt off his back.”
Jonathon Adamson and Benito Marquez are being held on $10 million bail. Neither has entered a plea at this time.