Police: Roy man murdered young nephew with machete, shot himself

ROY, Wash. -- A 12-year-old boy from Roy is dead, murdered by his uncle in his own home, police say.

The gruesome murder happened sometime before dawn Sunday morning inside a small home in rural Pierce County, investigators say.

The victim, 12-year-old Jesse Brayton, lived in the home with his uncle and grandfather.  The grandfather was in the yard Sunday when police were called.

"Grandpa was in the yard in hysterics," Pierce County Sherrif's Department Det. Ed Troyer told Q13 News. "Neighbors heard him call 911. We got there and that's when we found the 12-year-old deceased and it appears to be an attack from a machete."

The boy's body was found in the living room. The body of the boy's uncle, 27-year-old Christian Brayton, was found less than two miles away inside his truck.

Police believe Christian killed the 12-year-old, then shot himself while driving down the road in his truck. His truck smashed through a Joint-Base Lewis McChord fence and his truck slammed into a tree.

The neighborhood searches for answers, but police say they may never know what caused the uncle to kill his nephew.

"They were friends, they got along," Troyer said. "And they were playing video games earlier in the night. There's no reason for this to have happened. They got along great."

Neighbors placed flowers on the front step of Brayton's home.  Troyer says it will take years for the community to recover from such a tragedy.

"Both scenes were pretty traumatic and we're continuing to work it," Troyer said. "but there's not really going to be a lot of answers here."

Officials with the Bethel School District confirmed Jesse had been a student in their schools last year.

Police said they planned to investigate whether the uncle may have been suffering from mental health issues.