Editor’s note: The following story contains graphic details of a murder.
Two Federal Way gang members were charged in the murder of a 16-year-old Des Moines boy who was brutally beaten with a baseball bat and chopped with a machete, before his body was dismembered and dumped in the Green River last month.
Rudy Osvaldo Garcia Hernandez, 28, and Carlos Orlando Iraheta Vega, 20, were both charged with first-degree murder with a deadly weapon on Friday in King County Superior Court. Their arraignment hearing was set for Oct. 17 at the Kent Regional Justice Center.
According to charging documents, the suspects allegedly lured Mt. Rainier High School student Juan Carlos Con Guzman from his Des Moines home and drove him to a remote location with a plan to torture and kill him.
“The defendants beat the victim with a baseball bat and mercilessly chopped his neck repeatedly with a machete before dismembering his body,” prosecutors stated in the documents.
Their bail was set at $3 million due to the “extraordinary brutality” of this crime, which demonstrates the threat the defendants pose to the community, prosecutors said.
Garcia Hernandez has multiple charges pending in Virginia from 2015 including participating in predicate criminal acts for gangs, intentional property damage, brandishing a machete, larceny and forgery, according to charging documents. Iraheta Vega has a pending DUI in King County District Court from 2018.
Con Guzman’s body was found on Sept. 10 submerged in the Green River under the bridge, where deputies located a large amount of blood on the trail between the parking area and the bridge, according to charging documents.
Con Guzman’s parents had filed a missing person report, noting the last time they saw him was when he was leaving the family’s apartment at about 2 a.m. on Sept. 10.
Detectives collected surveillance video from businesses near the teen’s home and throughout the city of Federal Way during the investigation. Video shows Con Guzman get into a car near his home, which travels to the Avery at the Reserve Apartments, then eventually east-bound on Highway 18.
During interviews with the victim’s friends from school and work, several of them told detectives that he had a friend who was an MS13 gang member named “Joker.” After reviewing Con Guzman’s social media, detectives learned that Iraheta Vega claims to be a MS13 member, uses the moniker “Joker” and is Facebook friends with the victim, according to court documents.
Detectives contacted individuals who were social media friends with Iraheta Vega. Those inquires prompted Iraheta Vega to contact police asking if they were looking for him.
During an interview, Iraheta Vega told detectives that they picked up the teen near his home to have a pre-arranged fight to settle a dispute, the documents continue. Iraheta Vega admitted he had contacted Con Guzman on SnapChat to come out and fight. He said after he picked up the victim, they picked up Garcia Hernandez at his home at the Avery Apartments.
Iraheta Vega identified Garcia Hernandez as an MS13 gang member with the moniker “Inferno.”
He continued that they then drove to the Green River, went down the trail and had a fist fight with Con Guzman. He said after the fight, Garcia Hernandez produced a machete from his pants and “began hacking Juan Carlos’s neck,” according to charging documents.
Iraheta Vega took detectives to a location near Madrona Park in Federal Way and showed them where a machete was buried in the dirt. He said Garcia Hernandez had washed the blade of at his apartment and then buried the weapon.
Detectives also interviewed the driver of the vehicle, whose story closely matched Iraheta Vega’s. However, the driver told police that Iraheta Vega brought a wooden baseball bat to the fight and placed it in the bushes before the fight began, the documents continue. After the fight, he said Iraheta Vega picked up the bat and beat the teen with it. The driver said after the boy was on the ground, Garcia Hernandez chopped him with the machete.
The two suspects then allegedly dragged the teen’s body down the trail, the driver said.
Iraheta Vega later admitted to striking Con Guzman with the bat after the fist fight. He also told detectives he burned his clothes, shoes and bat after the murder.
During a search of Iraheta Vega’s room, detectives found “depictions of a devil type figure making the MS13 hand sign, holding a severed head, standing in a river,” according to charging documents.
Detectives also located a machete in his room that has suspected blood on the blade.
Detectives arrested Garcia Hernandez on Oct. 9 and discovered that he had been making plans to flee the state. They served a search warrant on his home, however, he had already moved out of the Federal Way apartment.
Iraheta Vega was also arrested on Oct. 9 during a King County Sheriff’s Office SWAT sting at Winco in Federal Way.