The suspects in the April 27 murder of a 79-year-old Puyallup woman are two Federal Way teens — one of whom was found murdered on Monday.
Police arrested one of the suspects in northeast Tacoma on Wednesday morning; the body of the second suspect was found washed up on the shoreline of Chinook Landing Marina along Marine View Drive in northeast Tacoma on Monday morning, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.
The Pierce County Medical Examiner confirmed the identity of the body as 16-year-old Federal Way resident Franklin Thuo. Thuo was killed by a single gunshot wound to the head, which the medical examiner ruled a homicide.
The Pierce County Metro Dive Team and surface swimmers continued to search the marina for more evidence where Thuo’s body was found on Thursday morning, said Ed Troyer, media relations specialist for Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.
The teens were allegedly involved in the murder of Soon Ja Nam, owner of the Handy Corner Store in Puyallup, who was fatally shot in the back on Saturday, April 27 during an armed robbery.
Witnesses reported to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department that two suspects entered the store, displayed handguns and demanded cash from Nam. After Nam complied and gave the suspects cash from the register, one of the suspects followed her toward the store office and fatally shot her in the back, according to police. The suspects fled the store in a Nissan Sentra.
The suspects’ getaway car, a silver 2003 Nissan Sentra, was found on Southwest 326th Street in Federal Way on Sunday, April 28. The vehicle appeared to have been dumped along the roadway and the license plates had been removed, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. Detectives found the car to be tied to Thuo, said Troyer.
On Thursday morning, Decatur High School principal Jamie Tough sent out an email to parents expressing condolenscenes over the incident, and acknowledging rumors online referencing a possible connection between the two young men and Decatur High School.
“The purpose of this letter is to let you know that we are aware of information being shared online referencing a possible connection between two Decatur students and an incident that happened off campus, over the weekend,” Tough said in the email. “We are also aware that one of the individuals involved in this incident was found deceased. We send our condolences to all who have been impacted by this event.”
Tough continued that since this is an active police investigation, she “cannot discuss the details or provide further information at this time. I can, however, acknowledge that this information has affected our Gator family.”
The letter also urges parents or children with information regarding the case to call 253- 835-2121 or send information anonymously via SafeCityFW.com.