Crime

Brothers charged in sexual assault and beating death of Randle teenager

This photo of Ben Eastman was shared on social media by family members after he was reported missing Wednesday. On Thursday, deputies found a body in a shallow grave while investigating the disappearance.
This photo of Ben Eastman was shared on social media by family members after he was reported missing Wednesday. On Thursday, deputies found a body in a shallow grave while investigating the disappearance. The Chronicle

Two brothers were charged in Lewis County Superior Court on Monday in the sexually assault and beating death of a 16-year-old boy from Randle, according to court documents.

Jonathan R. Adamson, 21, and Benito S. Marquez, 16, are being held on $10 million bail pending their next hearing. They are accused of sexually assaulting, murdering and unlawfully disposing of the body of Ben Eastman III, who died of blunt-force trauma to his head.

The brothers were charged with one count each of first-degree murder, first-degree rape, tampering with physical evidence and unlawful disposal of remains.

Eastman was reported missing Wednesday to the Lewis County Sheriff's Office, three days after his father last saw him.

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 later told investigators Eastman never arrived.

According to the report, citizens and family later located an area with disturbed soil and a cross made of sticks at a property owned by the brothers' relatives. Marquez said he and Adamson had buried an animal there.

A search of the area by investigators uncovered what appeared to be a human foot buried in a shallow grave.

The Lewis County Coroner's Office confirmed Saturday that the body found buried in the grave, wrapped in plastic and twine, was Eastman's.

Adamson and Marquez fled the area, and were located Friday by the Washington State Patrol in Ellensburg.

"The two had planned on assaulting Eastman and lured him to a wooded area under the guise of a camping trip," charging documents say.

"Eastman went to the ground and the pair continued to kick and hit Eastman. It was estimated by Adamson the assault lasted between 20 and 45 minutes."

Adamson told investigators the pair kicked Eastman more than 100 times. He also said the brothers sexually assaulted Eastman with a stick.

The brothers dug a grave near the scene of the attack, repeatedly hit Eastman with a rock, and removed his clothing before burying him. They burned Eastman's clothing and their own.

Lauren Smith: 360-754-5473, @smithlm12
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