Crime

Washington State trooper, wife facing evidence tampering charges in Thurston County

An Olympia couple is facing criminal charges after allegedly tampering with evidence to help their 18-year-old son avoid jail time.

Daniel R. Tindall, 51, was placed on administrative leave from the Washington State Patrol, where he has worked for about 25 years, according to court documents.

He and Melissa L. Tindall, 48, are each facing charges of tampering with physical evidence and second-degree rendering criminal assistance. They appeared in Thurston County Superior Court before Judge James Dixon on Monday.

Their son, Wyatt Tindall, is facing three charges: second-degree attempted arson, second-degree malicious mischief and stalking.

According to court documents, Olympia police began investigating Wyatt Tindall after he allegedly vandalized a car on several occasions — slashing the car’s tires and trying to light it on fire. The car’s owner installed security cameras, and his daughter identified the suspect as Wyatt Tindall.

The girl said that she and Wyatt Tindall were classmates at Avanti High School, and that he had been harassing her since she stopped spending time with him. Police talked to one of Wyatt Tindall’s friends, who said he had confessed to the vandalism via Facebook.

While reading the Facebook messages, officers found a message from Wyatt Tindall accusing his parents of hiding the clothing he had worn while performing the vandalism, according to court documents.

“Apparently the cops talked to them. My mom and dad found my mask and coat. They hid them but my dad wanted to go to the cops. My mom convinced him otherwise,” the message read.

Daniel Tindall admitted to police that he knew about his son committing the vandalism, but he refused to answer questions about hiding the evidence. Melissa Tindall also refused to answer questions about hiding the clothing.

Wyatt Tindall told police that his parents had taken the clothing to a vacation home in Winthrop during a family trip, according to court documents.

Officers searched the Winthrop home and found a jacket and shoes matching the ones worn in the surveillance video.

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