Two brothers charged with the rape and murder of a high school student who they lured into woods for an alleged camping trip
Court documents have stated that the two brothers sexually assaulted Eastman with a stick before kicking him more than 100 times and then hitting him on the head with a rock.
16-year-old high school student Ben Eastman was told he would be going on a camping trip by two of his friends. The two, who were brothers, took him deep into the woods but there all went wrong. Eastman never returned. Detectives from the Lewis County PD have said that Eastman had been reported as a runaway or possible missing person by his family on June 27.
Now days after his body was discovered in the woods in a shallow grave, the two brothers 21-year-old Jonathan Adamson and 16-year-old Benito Marquez were charged with rape and murder on July 2. Using the camping trip as an excuse the duo took Eastman into the woods where they launched a brutal assault by kicking him more than a 100 times.
Eastman had been living with his father in Randle, Washington. He was last spotted by witnesses on June 23. The authorities have said that family and friends had tried to find Eastman earlier when he did not show up to meet a friend. On June 24, detectives interviewed one of Eastman's friends, Marquez, who was very certain that he had not seen the missing high school student in a few days, the Daily Mail reported. Eastman's cell phone records revealed he had contact with Marquez during the early hours of June 24. Text messages between the two boys indicated Eastman was headed to visit Marquez. But Marquez told investigators Eastman never arrived.
Authorities canvassed a particular area in Randle as a part of the investigation into Eastman's disappearance and that is where they found the shallow grave. The county officers found the body wrapped in plastic and twine. On the gravesite being discovered, the two brothers fled the area and were located on June 29 by the Washington State Patrol in Ellensburg. The grave was located in a property that belonged to Marquez's relative. A police statement that was released after the discovery read: "Initially deputies were advised the gravesite was for a dog that had recently died but felt the information was suspicious."
Q13 Fox got a hold of the charging documents which stated that Marquez and Adamson had allegedly convinced Eastman to go with them to the woods for a camping trip on June 24 morning. It has been alleged that Adamson told the investigating officers that the two of them had planned to assault Eastman once they were in the woods.
Court documents have stated that the two brothers then proceeded to assault Eastman for 20-45 minutes. Adamson reportedly told the detectives that by his estimate, he and his brother had kicked Eastman more than a 100 times. According to Fox, a pathologist also concurred that the numbers were accurate and concluded that the high school student had died of blunt-force trauma. The 21-year-old is also alleged to have told the detectives that he and his brother sexually assaulted Eastman with a stick while he was still alive. They then hit the teen on the head with a rock to make sure he was dead after they were done sexually assaulting him.
Prosecutors working on the case then said that the two brothers buried Eastman in a shallow grave and burned his clothes, their clothes, as well as the shovel they had used to dig up the grave.
Adamson and Marquez went to court on July 2 and they were met with the devastated faces of family and friends of Eastman who had come to the trial. Benjamin Eastman, the high school student's father, told KCBY that he made it a point the brothers could see him clearly in the courtroom by sitting forward and leaning on the railing.
He said: "I wanted them to look at me, I wanted to look them in the eye. When I heard they were charging them with rape and that process, that really blew me hard. He had no idea but they did, he was going over there to be happy, cause that is what he was about, his joy. It's easy to get caught up in the negative aspect of this, but I remember my son and his smile. There [are] evil people out there. I don't know what makes them tick. I don't want to know. I'm loved, and my son was loved and that's all I'm about." The victim's half-brother has told the news station that Ben had always been a happy person.
Derek Dunway, the half-brother, said: "That's all he was, happy no matter what. It didn't matter. You'd be in a bad mood and he'd just walk in you'd just be mad as mad as you could be and he'd just crack a smile and make you giggle just over anything always." Eastman was an up-and-coming junior at the White Pass High School. The teen had always loved to camp, fish and ride around on dirt bikes with his father. The family held a vigil to honor the teen at his high school on July 3 night.
The authorities have said that they are still trying to understand what the exact motive was for the two brothers to murder the high school student in such a brutal way. They also said that they are still continuing the investigation and not much else is known at this moment in time. According to the authorities, Marquez is going to be charged as an adult in this case even though he is only 16-years-old. The presiding judge, in this case, has ordered that the two brothers be held on a $10 million bail on July 2.
The family of the victim has said that the support from the community has been overwhelming so far and that a fireworks show will be dedicated to Eastman on July 4. Business in the area have all held an impromptu fundraiser and have graciously reached out to the family to offer financial and emotional support.