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Washington Teen Allegedly Faked Disappearance As Cover For Involvement In Man’s Murder

Orting, WA – Police said a 16-year-old high school football player faked his own disappearance in an attempt to cover up his role in the murder of his mother’s ex-boyfriend.

Police began searching for 16-year-old Gabriel Davies after he failed to show up for football practice at Olympia High School at 4 p.m. on Aug. 31, The Olympian reported.

The teen’s blood-smeared vehicle was found abandoned in the 16100-block of Tilley Road shortly after 5:30 p.m.

Police said his smashed cell phone was located on the ground near his car, the Daily Beast reported.

Olympia police launched a massive search for the missing teen with the assistance of the Washington State Parks Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and a Washington State Patrol Aviation unit, according to The Olympian.

Davies was found safe in the 13600-block of Tilley Road Southwest at approximately 10 p.m. the following day.

Police did not immediately release any details regarding how they located him or the circumstances of his disappearance.

“Davies initially told a detective that he could not remember what had happened to him, or where he had been during his disappearance,” court documents said, according to the Daily Beast. “He later stated that he could not say what had happened to him because people were going to hurt him.”

Just hours after he was located on Sept. 1, Davies was arrested on suspicion of murder, the Daily Beast reported.

It turned out that earlier that same day, approximately 40 miles away from where Davies’ vehicle was located, a man who used to be in a relationship with Davies’ mother was found murdered, KIRO reported.

Pierce County Sheriff’s Department (PCSD) deputies initially responded to the 21900-block of 190th Street East in Orting to conduct a welfare check on 51-year-old Daniel McCaw.

Deputies were told that McCaw had not shown up for work in four days, KIRO reported.

When they arrived at McCaw’s house, they noticed the odor of decay and spotted a dog running in and out of a doggy door located on the back side of the home.

Police gained entry to the residence and found McCaw dead on the floor in a large pool of blood, KIRO reported.

Investigators said he had been shot in the head and stabbed multiple times.

A single shell casing was located near McCaw’s body, but police did not find a gun at the scene, KIRO reported.

Meanwhile, the father of 16-year-old Justin Jiwoon Yoon called the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) to report he had information about McCaw’s homicide.

TCSO investigators ultimately learned that Yoon and Davies had been camping with family members and friends at Panther Lake on Aug. 27 and Aug. 28, KIRO reported.

They said the teens left the camping area shortly after midnight on Aug. 28 and came back at about 6:30 a.m. before they left again for good at 11:45 a.m.

Meanwhile, PCSD detectives located security footage at McCaw’s residence that showed two suspects matching the teens’ descriptions entering McCaw’s home through the doggy door at approximately 2 a.m. on Aug. 28, KIRO reported.

The video showed McCaw “stumbling” into the house at about 2:41 a.m., according to police.

Approximately six minutes later, the victim’s dog ran through the doggy door into the yard, KIRO reported.

The two suspects were seen leaving out a side door one minute afterwards, according to police.

They proceeded to go back and forth to the garage area before they ultimately left the scene at about 2:52 a.m., KIRO reported.

Davies’ father allegedly told police that the teens went into McCaw’s home to steal something from his safe after McCaw’s “biker buddies” said they wanted the item.

The “biker buddies” allegedly threatened to hurt Davies if he didn’t comply, his father told investigators.

Court document did not specify what the item was.

Davies’ father said that when McCaw came home, Yoon chased him down and stabbed him.

He said his son told him he “heard a gunshot,” and that he was out in the garage getting the item out of McCaw’s safe when another gunshot allegedly rang out, KIRO reported.

According to Davies’ father, McCaw’s “biker buddies” later followed Davies and yanked him out of his truck on Tilley Road, police said.

He claimed they proceeded to slam his son’s face against the side of the vehicle, which he said was why there was blood found in the vehicle, KIRO reported.

The elder Davies said the “biker buddies” then drove his son around in a vehicle, assaulted him, and took his shoes and shirt before they finally let him go, according to police.

Investigators said Davies later showed them where he and Yoon had stashed two guns they allegedly stole from McCaw’s residence.

The teens were both arrested on charges of second-degree murder, unlawful possession of a firearm, and first-degree murder shortly after 8 p.m. on Sept. 3, KIRO reported.

Their bail was set at $1 million apiece.

Prosecutors said Yoon and Davies will both be tried as adults, KIRO reported.

During Davies’ arraignment hearing on Tuesday, Pierce County Deputy Prosecutor Lisa Wagner said that the teen’s crimes involved a “level of planning” that included Davies staging his own disappearance, according to the Daily Beast.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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