The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office arrested a 20-year-old Renton man Tuesday in connection with the June disappearance and murder of 16-year-old Morton resident Austin David Jon King.
Jack A. Silverthorne was taken into custody without incident about 2:55 p.m. at his Renton residence and booked into the Lewis County Jail for suspected first-degree murder.
The sheriff’s office said Silverthorne was living with his grandmother in the same Morton trailer park that King lived in when his family reported him missing June 23.
King’s body was found a month later, July 20, near a logging road east of Morton, about 10 miles from the Chapman Road trailer where the boy lived with his mother and siblings.
Sheriff Steve Mansfield said the murder’s lengthy investigation was frustrating at times but necessary for turning up critical evidence.
“We’ve had to be very patient while waiting for the DNA results from the state crime lab,” Mansfield said. “We wanted to make sure we had the evidence secured and a solid case prior to moving forward, making an arrest and handing it off to the prosecutor’s office.”
The Lewis County Coroner’s Office confirmed in early October King’s death was a homicide.
Commander Steve Aust said the sheriff’s office is reluctant to call Silverthorne’s connection to King’s murder a “love triangle,” but the man and boy both reportedly had a relationship with a woman in her early twenties who also lived in the trailer park.
“There was a relationship that linked the three people,” Aust said.
One of King’s grandmothers, Bonnie Shields, who also lived in the trailer park, said this morning she was unaware of how Silverthorne was connected to her grandson’s murder.
“I couldn’t even tell you what the guy looks like,” Shields said of Silverthorne.
Aust said Silverthorne was a person of interest early on in the investigation of King’s murder, but wouldn’t speculate on what occurred the night King disappeared after going to bed alone in a small building near his family’s trailer.
“We don’t know all the details that led up to it,” Aust said. “Realistically, Silverthorne is the one that knows what happened that night.”
Silverthorne is scheduled to make his first appearance 4 p.m. today in Lewis County Superior Court to face charges for first-degree murder.