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Originally published Friday, August 29, 2014 at 8:49 PM

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Burn site in Auburn raises homicide suspicions

Police say blood found at an Auburn burn site belonged to Brandon Shane Zomalt, 30, who is believed to be a homicide victim.


Seattle Times staff reporter

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Auburn police say a Pierce County man may have been the victim of a homicide earlier this month.

Police said on Friday that the Washington State Patrol crime lab had matched 30-year-old Brandon Shane Zomalt to the blood found on items someone was attempting to burn near an Auburn road.

Zomalt’s blood was discovered on clothes, carpeting and linoleum a man was burning Aug. 13 in the woods off Peasley Canyon Road, according to Auburn Police Cmdr. Mike Hirman.

Hirman said Zomalt was reportedly last seen about two weeks before the discovery of the clothing and carpeting.

“We have strong suspicions that he is a homicide victim because of the amount of blood and how it was being disposed of,” Hirman said.

He also said fragments of bone were found at the burn site by investigators. According to police, a Federal Protective Service employee was driving on Peasley Canyon Road when he reported seeing flames in the woods.

When the agent pulled over to put out the fire with his extinguisher, he saw a man rush to a dark-colored SUV and drive off, police said.

The agent then found carpet remnants, pieces of linoleum and towels soaked with a significant amount of fresh blood, police said.

The following day, police received a tip from someone who thought they had seen the same man in the SUV at a property near South 277th Street and 55th Avenue South in unincorporated King County, Hirman said.

He would not disclose whether any evidence was discovered at that site.

“After processing those scenes, we coordinated with law-enforcement authorities to see if they had any sort of violent incident involving a lot of blood and a missing person, but nothing panned out,” Hirman said.

Hirman said they do not have a make or model of the SUV believed to be involved, only that it is dark in color. The person associated with the SUV is described as a mixed-race man, in his late 20s to early 30s. He’s believed to be between 5-foot-8 and 5-foot-10, with a thin build and short dark hair.

Hirman said Zomalt had a criminal history that placed him primarily in Puyallup and Pierce County.

Investigators are now asking people who knew anything about Zomalt, including any cars he might have driven or where he lived, to call the Auburn Police tip line at 253-288-7403.

Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or cclarridge@seattletimes.comInformation from The Seattle Times archives is included in this story.



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