2 arrested after body of missing Randle teen found in grave


    The family of Ben Eastman, the Randle 16-year-old who has been missing for a week, believes Lewis County detectives have recovered his body, though the Sheriff’s Office has not identified the remains. (KOMO News)

    RANDLE, Wash. -- The Lewis County Sheriff's Office arrested a 16-year-old boy and 21-year-old man Friday on suspicion of second-degree murder of a Randle 16-year-old, according to a Lewis County Sheriff's Office press release.

    On Saturday, the Lewis County Coroner's Office identified the remains of 16-year-old Ben Eastman, who had been missing for a week. The boy's remains were found in a shallow grave near Randle on Thursday.

    “There’s a little bit of closure,” his father Benjamin Eastman said. “But I just kind of want to know why they felt the need to do this. It just don’t make no sense.”

    The Coroner determined the boy died of blunt force trauma to the head, according to a Lewis County Coroner's Office press release.

    Family members reflected on the young man’s life during an interview with KOMO News on Friday.

    “He was the perfect son,” his father Benjamin Eastman. “He was just taken too soon.”

    Eastman says Ben loved life and the outdoors. That included dirt bikes and fishing, and spending time with his family.

    “I’m going to remember his smile,” Benjamin said.

    “I lost my best friend, that’s about it,” Ben’s brother Derek added. “Everybody loved him. Even if it was the worst situation, he could make it the best.”

    Family members have come together to remember Ben in recent days.

    “He was a very good grandson,” his grandmother Rhonda said. “He was loved by everybody.”

    “We just don’t understand why,” she added. “It didn’t have to happen.”

    His father Benjamin reflected on the community’s support through this difficult time.

    “They’ve been amazing,” he said.

    Ben disappeared last weekend after deputies say he went to meet up with a friend. Detectives spoke with that friend, who told them Ben never showed up.

    Then they received a tip that there was a freshly dug grave on the property of that friend’s family.

    Thursday afternoon detectives recovered a body from that grave and positively identified the remains Saturday.

    On Friday, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said they talked to that 16-year-old friend again, as well as his 21-year-old brother, after troopers picked them up during a traffic stop along Interstate 90 near Ellensburg.

    Late Friday night, the 21-year-old was booked into the Lewis County jail on suspicion of second murder. The 16-year-old was also booked into Lewis County Juvenile Detention on suspicion of second-degree murder.

    Benjamin wants justice for his son, and to honor the young man he was; a 16-year-old loved by his friends and family.

    “Just know where your kids are,” he said. “That’s all I can say.”

    He says the community has helped him keep his head up through this dark time.

    “It’s gotten me through this,” he said. “I just want to tell everybody, thanks for the love.”

    The brothers' first court appearance is expected to be on Monday.

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