Martha Lake man charged in rape of woman dying from overdose
EVERETT, Wash. -- The 19-year-old man arrested after he reportedly raped a woman at a party as she was dying of a drug overdose was charged with crimes Friday in Snohomish County District Court, according to court documents.
Brian Roberto Varela of Martha Lake is charged with first-degree manslaughter, second-degree rape and controlled substance homicide.
Snohomish County Superior Court documents say Varela never tried to help the victim after she overdosed, and instead took photos of her as she lay dying and texted them out to some friends with the caption "LOL I think she od’d, still breathing."
After the victim's death, Varela reportedly used her thumb to unlock her cell phone and sent out a message to fool the victim's family into thinking that she had run away and was still alive, according to the court file. Meanwhile, court records say he bragged to a friend that "she died having sex with me."
Family and friends of the teen who died held a candlelight vigil along the shore of Silver Lake. More than a hundred people turned out to comfort each other, and share memories.
“She was an amazing person and I don't think anybody here would ever forget her special soul,” said Dallas Conroy, a close family friend. “She wanted to be more than what she grew up with."
The victim’s mother also attended the vigil, and said her last conversation with her daughter still rings in her ears.
“The night that she left she told me, she said, ‘Mom I love you. Jeff I love you. Peyton,’ her little sister, ‘I love you,’" said Gina Pierson.
According to the court documents, detectives began investigating the case Tuesday when Varela's co-worker went to police and said he wanted to report a murder.
Detectives then interviewed the man who resides at the home where the party took place, who confirmed much of what the co-worker had said and claimed that he had urged Varela to call 911 and report the death. Instead, Varela went to work, the court file says.
Investigators later served a search warrant at the home where the party had taken place and found the victim's body.
After his arrest, Varela told investigators that he planned to bury the victim's body by packing it with onions to minimize the odor, court documents say.
Charges must be filed in Snohomish County Superior Court by Feb. 23 for the case to move forward.