Seattle Police have arrested a 37-year-old man for homicide in connection with body parts that were found in a Central District sicycling bin Saturday afternoon. John Robert Charlton of Snohomish County was arrested Monday morning and booked into the King County Jail.
Although SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole declined to identify the victim, she said evidence was clear that the remains belonged to a woman who was reported missing in Renton that evening. Ingrid Lyne, a Swedish Medical Center nurse and mother of three, was reported missing after going on a date that included attending a Mariners game on Friday, according to friends who have posted about the 40-year-old woman’s disappearance on social media.
“We have no reason to believe that there is any question as to the vicim’s identity,” O’Toole said. “We’re very confident the victim is the one that has been identified in the media.”
UPDATE (4/13): King County Medical Examiners positively identified Lyne as the victim in the case on Wednesday.
UPDATE (4/12): Charlton made his first court appearance Tuesday afternoon, where King County prosecutors said they believe he murdered Lyne in her Renton home and transferred her body in her car to Seattle. Bits of human flesh were found in Lyne’s bathtub along with a pruning saw, according to probable cause documents filed in court by SPD Tuesday.
The judge found probable cause to keep Charlton in jail and set bail at $2 million. Charlton stood still and remained silent during the brief hearing.
According to the probable cause documents, the Central District homeowner discovered the body parts after emptying his bin which he thought was unusually heavy. After he called 911, investigators found a human head, an arm, part of a leg, and a foot. Since the face was intact, investigators were able to match it with Lyne’s photograph. The garbage bags used to wrap the remains matched an emptied box of bags at Lyne’s home, according to detectives.
A neighbor later told investigators that Lyne had been dating a man named John and that she was going to the Mariners game with him on Friday. Police found a ticket to the game on her computer.
The documents also shed light on what transpired in the day after Lyne’s disappearance. On Saturday, Lyne’s ex-husband arrived at Lyne’s house with their three daughters — ages 12, 10, and 7 — and found Lyne’s wallet and keys, but not Lyne. He called Lyne’s mother, who came to the house where she found Charlton’s number on Lyne’s phone and began texting him to ask about her daughter’s whereabouts. Charlton acknowledged the two were dating, but stopped responding after this text:
After his arrest, Charlton told police he and Lyne returned to her house but that he was too drunk to remember what happened afterwards. He said Lyne likely drove him back to Seattle, where he slept on a sidewalk. Detectives observed abrasions to his face and scratches to his hand and chest.
Charlton’s criminal history stretching back to 1998 includes violent crimes committed in multiple states.
King County Medical Examiners will make the final determination on the victim’s identity.
Investigators used forensic evidence, including a photograph, call records, and cell tower information to connect to the missing woman in Renton to the body parts found in the Central District, according to SPD. Police converged on Lyne’s Renton home early Sunday, the Seattle Times reported.
SPD did not provide any details on where the alleged homicide may have taken place. Assistant Chief Robert Merner said the recycling bin appeared to be a “dumping location” for the remains and that there were no other known connections to the Central District.
Merner said the victim knew Charlton prior to the incident. There were no other suspects in the case as of Monday evening.
Seattle Police officers and U.S. Marshals arrested Charlton without incident in Snohomish County, where he was staying
in a Residence Inn with an ex-girlfriend.
Homicide detectives continue to search for Lyne’s 2015 Toyota Highlander with license plate AUW3230. UPDATE 10:28 PM: Police have located the vehicle.
UPDATE (4/12): It turns out while police were searching for Lyne’s car on Monday, parking enforcement had already found it. Lyne’s vehicle was cited for a parking infraction on Monday at 12:31 PM near 1st and Blanchard in Belltown, according to City of Seattle records. Seattle Police announced they had found the the vehicle 10 hours later in the neighborhood.While a stolen car database would have alerted investigators to the citation, Lyne’s license plate was not added until later on Monday. It is unclear how long Lyne’s car was in the parking space before it was ticketed. An SPD spokesperson said specific details on the timeline of events are being withheld as part of of the ongoing investigation.
Homicide detectives still searching for silver 2015 Toyota Highlander # AUW3230 (similar to pic). Call 911 if seen pic.twitter.com/i8fVnSNHQH
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) April 12, 2016
On Saturday, April 9th, at approximately 4:19 PM, a citizen living in the 1600 block of 21st Ave reported finding what he believed to be human remains in his recycling container. The items in question were inside plastic bags.Patrol officers were immediately dispatched and responded to the scene. The officers externally examined the items and they too believed that the bags possibly contained human remains. The Homicide Stand-By sergeant was called and responded to the scene at approximately 5:00 PM. Upon further examination by the Homicide Sergeant, the items were confirmed to be human.The Homicide protocols were then activated. The Homicide Unit and CSI joined the investigation. The King County Medical Examiner’s Office took custody of the remains.That evening, at approximately 11:00 PM, the Homicide Unit learned that the Renton Police Department had taken a Missing Person report at 1010 hours that morning.The Homicide Unit obtained a copy of the report from the Renton Police Department. A photograph of the missing person was obtained by the Homicide Unit.
Based on observations by the investigators, the victim was tentatively identified.
In cooperation with the Renton Police Department, a search warrant was served in their jurisdiction.
Evidence was recovered during the service of the search warrant.
Based on the investigation, a suspect was identified.
Early this morning, as a result of this on-going investigation an adult male suspect was taken into custody in Snohomish County.
The suspect was interviewed by Seattle Homicide Detectives and has been booked into the King County Jail for the “Investigation of Murder”.
The suspect has been identified as John Robert Charlton, white, male, DOB: 12/28/78 , 37 years of age.
The Homicide Unit served an additional search warrant in Snohomish County.
This investigation is on-going. However, at this time we do not believe there are any outstanding suspects.
The Seattle Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance in locating an outstanding vehicle, a silver 2015 Toyota Highlander (similar to the one pictured below) bearing Washington plate AUW3230.