Puyallup man charged with murdering his ex-girlfriend

PUYALLUP, Wash. – A Puyallup man has been charged with killing his ex-girlfriend last week in his apartment.

Michael Anthony Lee was charged with second-degree murder in Pierce County superior court in the death of Ethelyn Rojas. He was scheduled to be arraigned Monday afternoon.

According to charging documents:

Detectives said Lee confessed to killing Ethelyn Rojas.

Police were called to her apartment just after midnight last Thursday when the woman’s fiancé called to say she hadn’t turned up for work. The man said when he couldn’t find her, he drove to Lee’s apartment complex and found her car there.

An officer called Lee, who said he hadn’t talked to Rojas in more than a week. Police believed something was amiss, so they asked the landlord to give them access to Lee’s apartment.

Once they were inside, they found Rojas’ body in one of the bedrooms and Lee pretending to be asleep in the other.

Neighbors said they’d heard screaming in the apartment, then saw Lee leave in Rojas’ Jeep and then returning. At that point, they said they heard two very loud “slam noises.” One of the neighbors went to Lee’s door, and was told by Lee that the argument was over and “she was done.”

Lee was arrested, and said he wanted to provide a statement. He told detectives that Rojas “was playing with his heart and his mind and he was tired of it.” He said he packed her things in a bin and left them in his apartment, telling her to come pick them up.

He said when she came in, he went out on the balcony. He said she called back in and she propositioned him for sex, but he got mad and threw her to the ground, then put his hand over her mouth and nose until she stopped breathing.

He told her detectives she was clearly dead, so he covered her up with a blanket and went to his bedroom and laid down until the police showed up.