Worst Roommate Ever (2022) s02e04 Episode Script

The Lethal Landlord

[suspenseful music playing]
[female teen 1] So we just found
this suitcase, and we're gonna get it.
Okay, so they're, like, opening it up
with the sticks because we don't wanna
-[male teen laughing] Open it.
-[female teen 1] It stinks, y'all.
[female teen 2] Yes, there's a bag.
There's a bag, like
Oh, it is a bag!
-[male teen] Oh!
-[female teen 2] Oh my God!
[male teen] She's calling the police
so we can see if it's a dead body.
[female teen 1]
We called the police twice.
It's been two hours in the water.
It's like rising.
[reporter 1] Detectives are investigating
the remains found in several bags
on Friday at Duwamish Head.
-[sirens wailing]
[reporter 2] The detectives have remained
tight-lipped about the gruesome murders.
[ominous music playing]
[waves lapping]
[uneasy music playing]
[Cooper] This case began
on June 19th, 2020,
uh, with a 911 call from a young lady
that was out of Alki.
And she was telling 911
they had found a suitcase
that they had opened up
and had a very bad odor,
and they believed they should report it.
[intriguing music playing]
[Cooper] When the officer arrived,
the tide was going out.
It washed the contents
of the suitcase out.
The officer came over to the edge.
He fished out the contents
of the suitcase first,
saw the duffle bag,
and the duffle bag
was actually in the water, floating away.
They fished those items out.
Within ten minutes,
the patrol sergeant
had contacted our unit.
I responded to his location.
That's when the patrol officer
showed me the duffel bag
and the plastic bag
that had fallen out of that.
And the plastic bag
contained a human foot.
[unsettling music playing]
[Cooper] The suitcase was partially open.
I could see that there were body parts,
or bags in there.
[sirens wailing]
I was 99% sure
this was not our crime scene.
That this was a dump site.
Those items did not just drift up here.
They would have never managed to go
that far in the water before sinking.
I had contacted my partner.
We went to track down the 911 caller.
The 911 caller and the witness, they
Totally cooperative.
They gave us great statements.
But it wasn't until the next day
that I have fellow detectives calling me
that have kids that are showing them
a TikTok video
of our witnesses finding the suitcase.
It was kids being kids.
But it went viral.
[people exclaiming]
[dramatic music sting]
murdered and left in a suitcase
in bags on Alki Beach,
when teenagers posted
on TikTok about finding the remains.
[Cooper] I've worked
high-profile cases before.
And the downside to the media coverage,
especially national media coverage,
you're behind the 8-ball.
[reporter 3] Detectives are investigating
several bags containing human remains.
[Cooper] Once the body parts
are being recovered,
the medical examiner's office
started going through the the bags.
She discovered not one head,
but two heads.
[foreboding music playing]
So now we know we have two victims.
One was a male, one is a female.
As an investigator, one of the most
important things we want to know is,
who are they?
They were able to obtain fingerprints
from the two victims,
and within a half hour,
we finally learned of who our people were.
The male was identified as Austin Wenner,
and the young lady
was identified as Jessica Lewis.
[somber music playing]
I remember seeing the news about Alki.
And I told my boyfriend at the time,
"Turn that off.
I don't like to watch the news."
"This is why I don't like
to watch the news."
"It's nothing but bad news."
And little did I know
that it was regarding my own son.
Shortly after that,
there was a knock on my door.
It was Detective Cooper.
And they asked if they could speak to me.
They told me that
they were there regarding Austin.
I said, "What about Austin?"
And they told me that he was found dead.
Um, my son and his sister.
Me and the kids.
Always together.
[emotional music playing]
[Charleen] Austin is my firstborn.
And he was very boyish.
Driving his truck, four-wheeling.
That was Austin.
You'd always find him tinkering
on different cars, or underneath it.
Sometimes gettin' mad. [laughs]
He was so social and always
very big-hearted and loving.
It was hard not to love him.
Maybe Jessica fell in love with him
for his blue eyes and his belly laugh
and his sense of humor.
Austin and Jessica met
when he was about 20,
and she was a little bit older,
in her late twenties.
[gentle music playing]
From that day on, they were inseparable.
[Gina] Jessica Lewis is my niece.
We always called her Jessie.
She was so kind.
She never said a bad word about anybody.
She was just a ray of sunshine, honestly.
My mom ran an adult family home.
Jessica would always
help paint their nails,
or helping them make lunches,
and assisting my mom.
It just takes somebody with a big heart
to be able to have that kind of patience.
She was a good girl.
[Kris] Jessica's a sweetheart.
She was definitely in love with him,
and he was in love with her.
Austin was her man,
and so she made a point
of making sure that he knew that.
[Gina] They were each other's escape
from the hard parts of life.
[intriguing music playing]
[Charleen] Austin was very emotional.
Things affected him.
And as he got older,
I think that it became
harder for him to cope with all that.
That's when he turned to using drugs
and got in that lifestyle.
[reporter 4] There is more meth out there
than ever before.
It's stronger, cheaper,
easier to find, and harder to quit.
[Kris] Austin liked
to smoke methamphetamine.
It was just one of those things
you got hooked on,
and he kinda knew where to get it,
and he could get it for me,
and, you know, we would be at my house
and and we'd we'd get high, basically.
[Charleen] Watching my son
struggle with drugs
was probably
one of the hardest things in my life.
[voice breaking]
And having to turn him away
um, when he was 16, was very hard.
But I had other children in the house.
I just didn't know
what came with the drugs.
What type of people came with it.
[Gina] Austin and Jessica
struggled with addiction.
A few of our family members did.
It's just something
some families deal with,
and ours is one of them.
[Charleen] Throughout Austin's life,
he's been in treatment a couple of times.
It would work for a little while.
-[thunder crashing]
-[Charleen] And then it wouldn't work.
[dark music playing]
I think that it was hard for them
to stay clean together.
When Austin and Jessica met,
he moved in with her.
They did become homeless after that
because they continued using drugs.
[Gina] Austin had a reputation
of stealing things.
And so I really
didn't want that around too much.
[uneasy music playing]
[Kris] They lived wherever
they could lay their hat, basically.
Sometimes they lived at my house,
sometimes they lived, you know,
in in other places.
It was Austin's aunt
who helped get them a place to live.
[melancholy music playing]
[Charleen] My sister was living
with Michael Dudley.
She lived there for quite some time.
A few years.
He sometimes would let people
live at his house.
He had an Airbnb.
My sister is a drug addict.
She was living
in a trailer on his property.
She would make
some of the meals for people,
make sure the rooms were clean and ready
for any guests that were coming over.
And I would sometimes
go over there and see her.
Michael Dudley seemed very pleasant.
He was very nice to me, respectful to me.
He would sometimes
take care of other people's pets
when they were gone.
He gave this persona of being very nice.
He would call me
if something was wrong with my sister.
He had both
my ex-husband Dean's phone number,
my phone number.
My sister was getting ready
to move down to California.
But before she left,
she had introduced Austin
to Michael Dudley.
So Austin and Jessica had moved in
around October of 2019.
[Kris] It was a unique situation
because they had
a place of their own finally.
A place where they could go at night
and chill out and sleep
and, you know, relax.
And they could have their cat there.
You know, it was a good thing
for a little while.
[dark music playing]
[melodic guitar music playing]
[Shelly] When I first met Mike Dudley,
I was moving from Switzerland to Seattle.
I was needing a place to stay.
I had a couple of pets.
And so I Googled on Airbnb,
"Who would take pets?"
And there was someone
quite close to the airport.
I was gonna be interviewing
for multiple jobs I had applied to,
so I thought
it was a good central location.
And the guy
who was the host of the Airbnb,
his name was Mike Dudley.
He was responsive and pleasant.
He said he actually had a dog of his own.
I said, "Great, my dogs love dogs."
[tranquil music playing]
[Shelly] I arrived with my two dogs
to Mike's house.
[dogs barking]
[Shelly] It was just as cute,
or cuter, than the picture.
I notice, off to the side of the garage,
he had like this chicken coop.
[chickens clucking]
There were two different rooms.
There was the blue room,
and there was a yellow room.
So, I thought,
"It's not gonna be too crowded, and yay."
Michael Dudley presents kind of geeky.
Computer programmer kind of guy.
Duke, his Chihuahua,
was always right beside him,
just following him, never on a leash.
His kitchen was really well-stocked,
and he said, "Make yourself at home."
He knew that I was interviewing
for these different jobs.
Some of them are a couple of hours away,
and I was trying
to figure out transportation,
and he was like,
"I can take you, don't worry about it."
"Wow, okay. Thank you. That's nice."
[intriguing music playing]
[Shelly] On those drives,
we would just start
randomly talking more about stuff,
and I noticed he was intelligent.
He understood when I used obtuse phrases.
He, you know, would laugh about something,
and he had a very dry sense of humor.
He spent a lot of time in his basement.
On one side, he had a big computer,
and then on the other side,
he had two of those huge computers.
I just thought,
"Well, maybe he's kind of got a compulsion
for computers or something."
[crickets chirping]
One day, he told me he was just gonna go
for his normal nighttime walk with Duke.
And I said, "Oh great, let's go."
We were walking
around the neighborhood, chatting,
and I remember Duke was off-leash.
And I'm like, "Where
where is Duke anyway?"
And then we walked a little more,
and we were like, "Yeah, where is he?"
[snaps fingers]
[cellphone ringing]
[Shelly] He gets this phone call.
And a man told him,
he said, "I'm holding your dog."
"He'd just been hit."
"I'm very sorry, the car that hit him
didn't even stop, and he just died."
[unsettling music playing]
[Shelly] So we walk there really quickly.
Picked up his dog.
We get back.
He went right back to his bedroom.
He wanted to go lay down,
and he took the dog with him.
Mike slept with Duke,
the dead dog, that night.
[unsettling music continues]
As he continued to sleep with Duke
for the next two or three nights,
I was thinking, "This is odd."
I'm also a psychologist,
and I was thinking,
this is a complicated grief reaction.
This guy is in, um
You know, he's in a state of denial
to the point where
[laughing] to the point
where it's semi-delusional.
'Cause the dog was
dead-dead. I mean, dead.
"It's probably time to,
you know, put him to rest."
And he said,
"I just I don't think I'm ready yet."
[unsettling music continues]
[Shelly] He had a freezer.
You know, he said,
"I'm gonna put him in there
until, you know, I'm just ready."
And then he put him in his freezer.
And the whole time I stayed there,
which was over a month,
the dog was still in the freezer.
[chilling music playing]
[Jessica gasps]
As a favor for Austin's aunt,
Jessie would help houseclean
in return for being able to stay there.
[Charleen] Michael Dudley used to get
a lot of cars from the auction,
and there were a lot of cars
coming and going.
So Austin would often
be working on those cars for him.
Austin didn't share a whole lot
of what was going on at the house with me.
[chilling music playing]
[Charleen] But he did mention there were
a lot of rules living at the house,
that he had cameras everywhere.
Michael Dudley knew everything
that went on at that house.
Everybody needed permission
to go in there.
I went over one time
shortly after Austin and Jessica
had moved in.
Austin had to call him to ask and see
if we could come inside the house.
And Michael Dudley
would probably be keeping track
of how long we were staying.
So we only stayed about a half an hour.
Why that is, I don't know.
That's the big question.
What was he hiding?
[ominous music playing]
You got to understand that Mike Dudley
and all the people up at that house
were up to no good, really.
And often,
Mike Dudley would have Austin or Jessie
or both of them go do little jobs for him,
whether it's stealing somebody's car,
getting car parts for him
I heard it from a couple different people
that he ran this whole little ring
of fenced goods, things like that.
Austin is somebody who doesn't have
a lot of choices of where to live.
It was a clean environment,
it kept him out of the weather,
and so I think that they just
learned to live with kind of his
[dark music playing]
[somber music playing]
It was 2019, and my dad
had a series of health problems,
and I had to quickly get to Kansas.
Anyone that was gonna
take care of my dogs,
it was gonna be a favor,
'cause it was super last minute.
And Mike said he would.
And I "Thank you, thank you, thank you."
I mean, they've been there before.
I knew he was good with dogs
because he was a dog lover,
so I didn't give it a second thought.
My dogs are my life.
One of my dogs is named Ringo.
He's a Jack Russell.
And the other's name was Pepper.
And they'd been raised together
so they're, like, fixtures together.
That was my joy.
They were with me all the time.
That's how close we were.
So they landed back up at Mike's house.
[hen clucking]
Mike shared with me that he had
some new people staying at his house.
He mentioned his new renters
were Austin and Jessica.
I did notice Mike was taking in
more street or edgy people.
[intriguing music playing]
[Shelly] While I was in Kansas,
I would check in with Mike
almost every day
to touch in with my dogs and also chat
about what was going on with my dad.
He was being supportive, in general.
And my dogs were great.
And then one day he told me
they were gone.
[chilling music playing]
[Shelly] They had run away.
My heart dropped out of my body.
I'm beside myself.
Mike's reassuring me he's out looking,
he's doing everything in the world
he can do to look for my dogs.
[suspenseful music playing]
[Shelly] It was a long time,
at least two weeks,
that both of them were gone.
I'm becoming physically ill. I'm sick.
They were chipped,
but they didn't have their collars
with identification on,
and so I was always calling
the microchip company.
And one of them got a hit,
but it was just Ringo.
And Mike said,
"I'm going over to get your dog."
[Michael] Hey, Ringo!
[woman laughing]
[Shelly] Mike sends me this video,
of going to these people's house.
All is good. Happy, happy, happy.
[Michael] Thank you so much.
Thank you. Shelly says thank you.
Well, where's Pepper?
[uneasy music playing]
[Shelly] So I was sending him pictures
and, "Please look for Pepper."
"I have to have Pepper too."
I was out of town over a month,
almost two months,
and Pepper was never found
during that whole time.
When I got back, Mike actually
was the one who picked me up.
And I just remember it was raining a lot.
And I'm still crying
and numb about Pepper,
but knowing Ringo's
gonna be there, and I go,
and Ringo jumps up,
and he's happy to see me as normal.
And I'm just, "Thank God, my dog."
[chilling music playing]
[Shelly] We were there for a few minutes,
and I just sat down at the kitchen table,
got something to drink.
And Mike disappeared.
I didn't know what he was doing.
-And then, all of a sudden, I look up
-[hen clucking]
and he has this fucking hen.
[foreboding music playing]
[Shelly] He's holding one of his hens.
[hen continues clucking]
[Shelly] He looked at me
just dead straight.
"I killed Pepper."
[foreboding music building]
[Shelly] I said, "You killed Pepper?"
"Yes, I killed Pepper."
I said, "Why did you kill Pepper?"
And then he says, "He killed her baby."
[hen clucking]
"It's an eye for an eye."
I said, "How?" And he said,
"I hit him."
[terrifying music playing]
In the back of my mind, I'm thinking,
"It takes a lot of hitting to kill a dog."
As a psychologist,
my clinician is kicking in,
'cause I know there's something
deeply disturbed going on.
This is someone who is volatile.
He wasn't mad at me,
but he was wanting me to know
this distress this dog of mine had caused.
And I just had to say,
"Keep it together, Shelly."
"This person can flip and kill me."
I just, like This is too much.
I He fucking killed my dog.
[thunder crashing]
[Shelly] So I just kept myself
straight as I could.
I asked him, "So, Mike,
where did you bury Pepper?"
And he said, "Austin and I cremated him."
[thunder crashes]
So then I went back to the yellow room,
and I locked the door.
And I called an Uber, and I left.
-[thunder rumbling]
-[windshield wipers swishing]
[unsettling music playing]
[Charleen] Austin had told me one day
that Michael Dudley
had killed a little puppy.
[dog yelps, whines]
[Charleen] And he left it there
for others to see.
And I'm thinking,
"Why are you living there?"
"This is not a good environment."
And, "Is he and Jessica
gonna be safe here?"
[ominous music playing]
[Charleen] Austin told me
that he saw through his window
a bunch of guns being unloaded.
And he didn't know for sure,
but he thought maybe
Michael Dudley knew that he saw them
and that he they weren't
supposed to see that.
And he was nervous about it.
Austin and Jessica said,
"We need to get out of here,
and we're moving, Mom."
I just said, "Well, are you safe
to stay there now?"
And they told me,
"Yeah, we're we're fine."
This was right about
when COVID had started.
And that was probably
one of the biggest mistakes of their life.
[Kris] Austin and Jessica
came over to my house,
and they were concerned that
he was gonna do something, you know?
And as they left my house,
literally, they said,
"If you don't see us again,
you know who did it."
[ominous music continues]
[Charleen] I called him, you know,
every couple of weeks or so,
and I hadn't heard from him.
So I was ringing his phone,
and his phone wasn't working.
Well, that was kind of typical of Austin
because he either always sold his phone,
or he didn't have his phone,
or it was dead.
But the first time that I realized
something was wrong
was when I couldn't get a hold of Jessica.
She always had her phone.
So I called Dean, Austin's dad,
and we weren't able
to get a hold of anybody at the house,
which was strange.
So we started leaving
Michael Dudley messages.
[cell phone ringing]
[Charleen] And I said, "I have not
been able to get a hold of you."
"We're looking for Austin and Jessica."
"I need you to call me back,
or I am going to stop by the house."
[line ringing]
[Charleen] He called me right back,
and he said,
"Well, they moved out.
They moved out in a hurry."
"And they left me this big,
giant mess to clean up."
And I said, "Well, I'll come over
and clean it up."
You know, and he said, "Oh, that's okay."
"You don't need to come over."
So then we started getting nervous,
and we started looking for them.
[suspenseful music playing]
Detectives are investigating the remains
found in several bags on Friday
at Duwamish Head.
[reporter] The medical examiner's office
has not released information
about the person who died.
Seattle Police are actively investigating.
When we responded
to the dump site at Alki,
it was a suitcase and a duffel bag.
Three days later, we were contacted
by the King County Major Crimes Unit,
and they informed us that they had
another dump site off of the Duwamish,
which is approximately 7.5 miles away
from our dump site.
And they believed
it was related to our case.
[Ray] A person was walking,
discovered another suitcase.
They were walking their dog.
The suitcase drew the dog's attention.
[dark music playing]
[Ray] They saw the body parts.
That individual also saw the news
and called the police.
[Cooper] This was our second dump site,
right in the bushy area
down here along the edge.
[intriguing music playing]
The water was all the way in.
It was about five feet of standing water.
The body parts were packaged
in the same bags,
and the suitcase was consistent
with the ones we already had.
[Ray] After the detectives
located the body,
we still don't know where they were killed
and how they were killed.
And we were still missing
a significant number of body parts.
[Cooper] So when we finally
went to the autopsy,
the medical examiner's office concluded
that Jessica was shot at least four times.
And one round severed,
I believe, an artery to her heart.
Austin, we've never recovered
his torso or lower half of his body.
But the medical examiner's office ruled,
because they were together,
that more than likely,
they both died of the same cause.
And we know this crime
has occurred weeks ago.
So the chances of finding evidence
at a location, uh, is nil.
We need to find out who these people
were associating with,
who they had issues with,
who had issues with them.
At that point,
we want to start talking
to their friends, their family.
Uh, people that were close to them,
to get an idea
of where they were living at,
if they were living anywhere.
So the first family members we contacted
was, uh, Austin's family.
[somber music playing]
[Charleen] We were constantly
looking for Austin.
By the time we decided that
we were going to do a missing persons
[knocking on door]
there was a knock on my door,
and it was Detective Cooper.
I asked where he was found
and how he died,
and they told me
that he was found outside.
Later that night,
we looked up the date in Seattle
because we were trying to get information,
because they didn't tell us
much of anything.
And the only thing that came up
was the suitcases.
With having my son and Jessica being found
in such a populated area,
a popular area,
this being on the news,
and then it also going on social media,
just compounded our grief, our fears.
Those weren't suitcases that washed up.
Those were human beings.
That was my son, and that was Jessica.
They were real people.
[Gina] I talked to my brother,
and I'll just never forget his voice, and
he was just like,
"They didn't have
to cut them up, you know?"
And I just couldn't believe it.
And seeing that in my brother,
that's what drove me to want to know
what what really happened, you know?
[dark music playing]
[Cooper] We were able to ascertain
that probably the last time
they were seen alive by Charleen
was the 29th of May.
They were living at a place in Burien,
south of West Seattle.
And that precinct is always busy
with narcotics
and narcotics trafficking issues.
Charleen actually
did not know the address,
but she was able to take us
to that location in our car.
And the landlord was a person
by the name of, uh, Mike or Michael.
When we did a records check
on that location,
that's when we first discovered
the name Michael Dudley.
[ominous music playing]
[Cooper] As investigators, we started
doing our background on Michael Dudley.
Through records checks,
through law enforcement databases,
we learned that he had
a conviction for drugs.
He had some other arrests, minor arrests.
There were numerous witnesses
that came forward and said,
"Michael Dudley used crack,
and he used methamphetamine."
On our drive-by, we noticed
there were cameras at that location.
A lot of people that are involved in meth
and at their homes,
from my past narcotics experience,
they always had surveillance systems.
The one thing that piqued our interest
is something Austin's dad, Dean,
told us during our interview with him.
He began looking for Austin and Jessica.
When they didn't respond
to any of his messages,
he stated he actually went
to Michael's house.
[Dean] So I went over to his house
and said,
"Hey, have you heard from Austin?"
Dudley told me that him and Jessica
had moved out of the house in a hurry.
[disturbing music playing]
[Dean] And he said they left
a big mess in the bedroom
and that he was cleaning it out.
And, uh, I noticed as, you know
there was some of my kid's clothes
at the base of his garbage can.
[Cooper] How do you know
it was Austin and Jessica's clothing?
[Dean] Because I knew my son's clothing
because the bulk of his clothing
I had bought for him.
[Charleen] We just thought
that that was strange
because that's all they have.
They have their suitcases,
they have their clothes, they have food.
They wouldn't leave those things behind.
[Cooper] Was Michael Dudley,
at this point, a person of interest?
Yes, he was.
[uneasy music playing]
[Cooper] As we continue
to investigate this case,
we talked to one witness that lived
on the north side of Michael Dudley,
that asked us, "Are you guys here
for the 'shots fired' incident
that occurred on the 9th?"
[ominous music playing]
[man on recording]
[Ray] There was a 911 call
from the neighbors.
And there was a police response.
Police knocked on the door.
No one was present.
[knocking on door]
And because they didn't have
anything else to go on,
at that point, they didn't have
probable cause for a crime or anything
to further investigate.
That was, for us, a very good
starting point for our forensics.
Within days, we wrote the search warrant
for Jessica's phone,
believing that that's the phone
they were primarily using.
We would get Jessica's
phone records back on June 9th,
on the night of the 911 calls.
The last cell site
that that phone pinged on
was less than a mile
from Mr. Dudley's residence.
So that piqued our interest even more.
[Ray] Jessica's phone was turned off
and never turned back on again.
Ten days later, June 19th,
is when the first set of body parts
was located on Alki Beach
by the teenagers.
[Cooper] As we are working this case
and building our case up,
we were contacted about a witness
that had been taken into custody
on unrelated matters
by the King County Burien Precinct.
We would eventually
have a conversation with this witness.
This witness gave us
information that she had arrived
at Michael Dudley's residence
in the late evening hours
of the 9th of June of 2020,
and ended up staying there.
[Cooper] So, this is regarding
a case I'm investigating,
and it's a homicide case.
And who's your current landlord?
[witness] His name is Michael Dudley.
[Cooper] Do you remember
when you got there
was anybody else there?
[witness] No, it was super quiet.
Mike's glasses had been broken
looked like he had been in a scuffle
what I would call defense wounds.
-[Cooper] Right.
-[witness] Scratches and everything.
[Cooper] Did you know my two victims,
Austin and Jessica?
No, I did not know them personally.
I had never seen them personally.
I just know that they were residents
in the bedroom
that I now am a resident at.
[Cooper] Okay.
[witness] The day that I officially
really stayed overnight
[ominous music playing]
I open the door,
and right here on the ground
is heaps of clothing.
[door creaks open]
[witness] I can see the figure of a body
and then, the hand sticking up.
I remember a bloody hand.
I was in the living room.
A couple hours later, he tells me
is there somewhere he can drop me
'cause he needs to clean up the mess.
[Cooper] Okay.
[Ray] This particular witness
provided some fairly key details
for the detective.
First of all,
she provided information
that was not publicly released,
um, which makes it easier for us
to believe the rest of her story.
[Cooper] Anything else in that room?
[witness] I noticed something yesterday.
You're gonna freak out.
It looks like a bullet hole.
I said, "What happened?"
He told me the boy's gun misfired,
and his didn't.
[dark music sting]
[witness] I got kind of spooked out.
And I couldn't report to anybody
because I I was scared for my life.
-[Cooper] Right.
-[witness] Know what I'm saying?
[witness inhales shakily]
[Cooper] Take a breath.
The witness is a person with a very heavy
criminal background in theft,
things of that nature, drugs.
Uh, she was
She had a history of prostitution.
And, for all her flaws,
this witness came across
as being very truthful about
what she saw, uh, on that night,
that late hours of the 9th.
And to me, it was it was clear that
she feared for her life and her safety.
She was scared to death.
Knowing the information
we just gleaned from the interview,
we believe that Michael Dudley
was the person responsible
for the death of Austin and Jessica.
[Ray] On August 19th
is when the police was able
to search his home and arrest him
pursuant to a warrant.
[suspenseful music playing]
[Cooper] I think Michael Dudley
had two personas.
He has his day side,
where he wanted to make himself
look like an everyday John Doe citizen,
and then he had the night side,
where he partook in drug use
on a regular basis.
And then liked to have a persona.
He wasn't someone to be messed with.
So he could play both sides.
Hey, Mike. How you doing, partner?
Detective Cooper, Seattle Police.
You have no idea what this is about?
[Michael] Uh, am I under arrest?
You said that I'm under arrest?
[Cooper] Technically.
That's why you're here.
-[Michael] What am I under arrest for?
-[Cooper] Investigation of homicide.
I have forensic people out there
going through your property
and things like that, okay?
Austin and Jessica lived with you.
Apparently that's that's the last place
they were seen alive.
[Michael] Wait, are you out of your mind?
You're saying I killed them?
-I didn't do it.
-[Cooper] Okay.
-They're my friends.
-Okay then.
-I can't I need a drink of water.
-[Cooper] Yeah, go ahead, go for it.
I go out there, people were, like,
pointing the finger at you.
They actually told people, they said,
"If anything bad ever happened to us,
look at Mike."
-Why would they even say that?
-I don't know. That's why I'm asking you.
Okay, did you see anything
about them in the news? About, uh
-Yeah, I
-[Cooper] Why didn't you call the police?
Because a lot of people
that were good friends
that hadn't even talked to either of them
for two or three years reached out to us.
[detective] Do you see why
we're kind of perplexed?
Well, I was perplexed too.
I mean, you know
[Cooper] Michael Dudley,
never, in our interview,
could explain why he didn't come forward
after seeing in the news
that Austin and Jessica
had been killed violently.
Did you have any problems
with Austin at all? I mean
[Michael] Uh, the only problem
I had with him was stealing.
[Cooper] Mm-hmm.
[Michael] He was a freaking prolific thief
and a meth user,
and his habit was to, uh, steal,
and after, get a bag of meth.
He was playing
with some very dangerous, uh, gangs.
-What do you mean?
-[Michael] Like, you know, gangster stuff.
And I got this right,
and it's gonna They
He robbed the Samoans
who robbed the Mexicans
who owed money to some cartel.
-[Michael] I know, I
Take it or leave it, I don't You know.
Did he say what he robbed
from the Samoans?
He said it was, um,
like duffel bags full of dope.
He would give us several red herrings
to try to distract us.
You ever shoot your gun in your house?
I have occasionally, uh
What are your forensic people finding?
I mean
Well, I have people calling me, saying,
"Well, Cooper, you got bullet strikes
in this blue room."
-[Michael] What does that mean?
-Well, I'm asking you.
Because I'm asking you, do you recall
[Michael] No.
[Cooper] your gun being discharged
in that room at any time?
[Michael] Oh, no, no.
[Cooper] The room, called the blue room,
the room that Austin and Jessica
was living in,
had just been repainted,
just been cleansed.
You could still smell
the cleansers in the air.
There were bullet strikes in that room.
[tense music playing]
[Cooper] We would eventually
dig bullets out of the walls.
I got a bed frame here,
and there's bullet strikes
on the bed frame.
I don't know, uh
While we never recovered a gun,
ballistics is able to tell
these three bullets
were fired from the same gun.
Has anybody ever been
injured in that room?
Because I'm being told
there's blood in the room too.
Um Well, yeah,
I mean, Jessica cut her, uh, thigh.
-How long ago was that?
Oh God, I don't know, um
On the opposite end of the headboard
from where the bullet strike was,
the CSI and the blood spatter specialist
would find what's knows as a blood swipe
that tested positive, eventually,
for Austin's blood.
[Cooper] Okay, turn around.
[Cooper] Once we arrested him,
I asked for three months
of Mr. Dudley's cell phone records.
There was only one time his phone
ever left Burien in that three months,
and that was on the late hours
of June 18th,
to the early morning hours of the 19th,
where the phone came into West Seattle,
circled out of West Seattle,
went down by the Duwamish,
and then back home.
It just so happens that our dump sites
are right along those locations
where his phone was pinging at.
I believe, based on the violent history
between these three individuals,
something occurred the evening
of the 9th at his house where, eventually,
he shot these individuals
and, in the end, would dismember them
and package their body parts in suitcases,
and then realized,
"I need to dispose of them."
[reporter] Learning new details
in a gruesome case
of two bodies found in a suitcase
on Alki Beach in Seattle.
King County prosecutors
charged landlord Michael Dudley
now with two counts
of second-degree murder.
When Mike Dudley first showed up in court,
he acted like he didn't know
what was going on.
He was like, "What's going on?"
"I'm just a frail old man."
You know, "I don't know
what's going on here."
Who does he think he's fooling, you know?
He he's not as smart as he thinks he is.
[Ray] We don't know for a fact
what motivated Michael Dudley
to kill Jessica and Austin.
Was it an argument over drugs?
Was it an argument
over some other transactions?
We don't know.
Nor do we need to know for the purposes
of proving the murder charge.
What I can prove is the fact
he used a firearm to commit these crimes.
Dismembering their bodies,
hiding them in suitcases,
disposing them
in multiple bodies of water.
[juror] We, the jury,
find the defendant, Michael Lee Dudley,
guilty of the crime
of murder in the second degree
as charged in count one.
[reporter 1] Today,
a jury found Austin and Jessica
were murdered by their landlord,
62-year-old Michael Dudley.
[reporter 2] Dudley expected
to be sentenced,
and faces life in prison without parole.
[Charleen] The day that he walked in
for sentencing,
in his red jailhouse suit,
it wasn't until the judge told him
that he would be basically
spending the rest of his life in jail,
I broke down and cried.
That was the best outcome
that I could get from this entire thing,
was to see him sitting there
with handcuffs on
and getting his fingerprints taken,
knowing that
he didn't get away with it.
He'd gotten away
with a lot of stuff in his life,
but he messed
with the wrong family this time.
He messed with the wrong detectives.
[solemn music playing]
[Cooper] To this day, we've never
recovered the rest of Austin Wenner.
When we came out here that morning,
we scoured the edges for black bags.
But we never found anything,
So And that bothers me to the end.
[exhales emotionally]
[chuckles sadly] It's just hard.
[sniffles, exhales]
'Cause I know their family.
They're good people.
And you always want to do
the best you can,
and give them some peace.
I'll remember that all my life.
That I couldn't find the rest of Austin.
That will bother me.
[Charleen] I really thank
the Seattle Police Department
and the prosecutors
for everything they've done.
As horrific and gruesome
and awful and terrible
as this whole thing has been,
not knowing where my son was
would have been the death of me.
That, I couldn't have handled.
[emotional music playing]
[Charleen] And I really, truly believe
that God brought him home
in a place where I feel peace,
which is the water.
The beach is my favorite
favorite place to be.
And I really feel like God
brought him home to me there
because he knew that that's somewhere
that I always find peace.
And, I really just kind of feel like,
you know, his body was washed clean,
and he was brought home to his mom.
[chilling music playing]
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