SEATTLE - Investigators with King County are hoping the public can help them figure out what happened to a 16-year-old girl in the hours before she was found dead along the side of a highway in White Center.
On Oct. 7, detectives said the teen’s body was found along a stretch of SR 509 near the Glendale Exit around 7:30 am. She has been identified as Keyalas Brewer.
A small memorial has popped up along the side of the highway in that area with flowers, a stuffed animal and candles.
"As a parent, this is your worst terror to have happen, especially to a 16-year-old kid," said Matthew Reynolds, a White Center dad that lives in a neighborhood just above the section of SR 509 where the girl’s body was found.
"I’m shocked, but I’m not shocked it would happen in a place like this," said Reynolds.
He says that area along the highway is isolated and it’s a spot where illegal dumping happens often. A wooded area separates the highway from the neighborhood above and the trees and brush provide a thick visual barrier as to what’s happening below.
"Along 509 here, this is all brambles and bush and blackberries, and very inaccessible," said Reynolds.
Neighbors also say the traffic quiets down overnight and it would be easy for something to happen along that shoulder of the road without anyone seeing it.
The King County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday that detectives are looking for the public’s help in solving the mystery as to what happened to the girl and how she wound up on SR 509.
Investigators are looking for anyone with video who may have been traveling southbound on 509 between the 1st Avenue Bridge and Exit 112th on Oct. 7 from 5 to 7 am.
"It doesn’t need to have anything specific in the video, anybody that was driving along 509 SB during that time period, we would love to be able to get your dash cam video so that we can look into it and see if there is anything detectives are looking for," said Captain Ryan Abbott, King County Sheriff’s Office.
Abbott also wanted to quash rumors that this death investigation has anything to do with a serial killer. That rumor has been circulating online.
"Detectives have made it clear to me that is not something that is in play at all," said Abbott.
The medical examiner has not released a cause of death yet.
Reynolds says he has faith in law enforcement to solve the case. He says he also feels for the teen’s parents.
"It’s horrifying, as a parent, you are just, you just get this chill because I’m sure her parents had no idea until KCSO showed up," said Matthew.
The victim that sparked baseless online rumors that there is a serial killer in Seattle or King County has been identified as a 16-year-old girl.
On Oct. 7, a body was found on the side of Highway 509, near South Seattle. King County Sheriff's deputies didn't release much information at the time other than to say a "female was found deceased" on the side of the road.
After she was discovered, claims erupted over social media that Seattle residents were warned by law enforcement to be on the lookout for a serial killer. The online claim said multiple women were found dead in Burien and SODO, all apparently posed the same way.
"King County Detectives have been notifying locals about a serial killer in Seattle right now," read a tweet that was shared to Instagram, where it amassed nearly 40,000 likes. "Multiple women’s bodies have been discovered recently in the Burien and SODO area, apparently posed in the same way," the post continued, referring to a district of downtown Seattle.
"Serial killer warning in Seattle!" read another tweet, which included a screenshot of an email attributed to a local bar manager. The email claimed a killer had been "abducting and dismembering women in their 30s" between 12 a.m. and 7 a.m. in the south Seattle area.
The King County Sheriff’s Office and Seattle Police Department both said they are not investigating a suspected serial killer. The sheriff’s office, whose jurisdiction includes Burien, said it had no evidence of deaths under investigation in these locations sharing similar characteristics.
"The King County Sheriff’s Office is aware of unsubstantiated on-line social media reports that select death investigations, in the vicinity of South Park / SR509, may share similar characteristics," the statement read. "At this time, the Sheriff’s Office has identified no evidence affirming this for any cases under our jurisdiction."
Deputies did not specify if the teen found on 509 was dismembered like the rumors suggested. However, they are still investigating her death. They are asking for dashcam video from anyone who was driving southbound on 509 between the 1st Ave. bridge and the 112th St exit on Friday, Oct. 7 between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m.
Officials are asking for footage if drivers saw anything suspicious, like a stopped vehicle on the highway, people on the roadway, etc.
If you have any information, you can send an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound at 1-800-222-TIPS or through the P3 Tips app. You can also call the King County Sheriff's Office tip line at (206) 296-3311 and reference case #C22033455.