Auburn police: Tests show blood on ripped-up flooring is human

AUBURN, Wash. - Tests at the Washington State Patrol crime lab have confirmed that the blood on ripped-up flooring and clothing found along an Auburn roadway is human, say Auburn police officials.

The tests were conducted Friday on the blood-soaked items, which were discovered along Peasley Canyon Road on Wednesday afternoon by a federal agent who spotted a man trying to burn them. The man then fled the scene in a dark SUV and got away.

Cmdr. Mike Hirman of the Auburn police says the blood found on the flooring, carpeting, clothing and towels was fresh.

"There's a significant amount of blood and some other evidence there that would lead us to believe that it's likely a homicide," he said.

But where that homicide was committed remains an elusive mystery so far.

Police have investigated several possible locations based on tips from the public, but none of those has turned up anything related to the crime.

One tip about a dark SUV and suspicious activity lead police to the side of the road along 55th Avenue South, a few miles from the site along Peasley Canyon Road where the bloody debris was found. Searchers combed the area but nothing was found.

Rick Vilog, who lives nearby, says he watched the detectives work for several hours on Thursday near his home, but he suspects the tip was a false alarm. "It could have been my own black SUV I drive," he says. "I was parking, getting my mail in my driveway."

The investigation began Wednesday afternoon when a uniformed off-duty federal agent driving along Peasley Canyon Road in a marked Department of Homeland Security vehicle spotted smoke coming from a brushy area about 15 feet off the roadway.

The officer pulled over and walked toward the fire with an extinguisher, then spotted a man standing beside a dark SUV near the fire. When the man saw the federal agent, he jumped in the SUV and fled the scene. The agent attempted to follow the man but he got away.

When the officer returned to the smoky fire, he made a disturbing discovery - the man had been burning flooring material, carpeting, clothing and towels that were covered with blood.

Police cordoned off the area and closed the roadway for nearly 24 hours while they collected evidence at the scene. The Washington State Patrol is assisting in the investigation, and the bloody items will be examined at the WSP crime lab, said Dave Colglazier of the Auburn police.

He said it's possible that DNA found on the bloody items may help lead them to the suspect or a victim.

Auburn Police said their suspect seen fleeing in the SUV was possibly mixed race man, in his late 20's to early 30's, and was between 5-feet-8 and 5-feet-10-inches tall with a thin build and short dark hair.

Auburn police are asking anyone who saw him or the dark SUV along Peasly Canyon Road around 2:30 or 3:30 p.m. Wednesday -- or who knows anything about the bizarre incident to call them.