LYNNWOOD — A Lynnwood man raped a teenager as she was dying from a drug overdose, then hacked into her cellphone in an attempt to cover up the death, according to police reports filed in court.
The suspect, Brian Roberto Varela, 19, was arrested Tuesday for investigation of rape, manslaughter and homicide by controlled substance.
Alyssa Mae Noceda, 18, was a Mariner High School student, her mother said. She’d gone to a party Saturday evening in a mobile home park in the 400 block of Lakeview Road, where she met Varela, according to the reports filed in court.
That night Varela sent a group text with photos to friends. The images showed a semi-nude, unconscious young woman with swollen blue lips, court papers say.
“LOL I think she od’d, still breathing,” he wrote, according to the reports. Using a slang word for sex, he suggested he’d been engaging in intercourse with her “to pass the time,” court papers say.
A man who shares the mobile home with Varela later reported to sheriff’s deputies he saw the girl alive after 9 p.m. Saturday. He went on to say that Sunday morning, Varela stepped out of his room and said he needed help. He showed him the dead teen on his bed. Varela told his roommate that she snorted a line of crushed Percocet pills, took a “dab” of liquid THC and passed out, according to the roommate’s account.
The roommate said he told Varela to call police, according to the report. Instead, the suspect went to work a double shift at a local Dairy Queen.
At work, Varela told another employee about the party, the overdose and the photos, court papers say. He seemed to be boasting when he claimed the young woman died while having sex with him, the coworker later recounted to deputies. He reportedly told the coworker he wanted to take her to the hospital, but he was “too tired to do so” and went to sleep.
Varela described how he’d stuffed the body into a plastic crate, according to the coworker’s story. The young man found a place in Marysville where he planned to bury her, according to the report. The coworker searched Facebook and saw a post from the girl’s mother. It said the girl had been missing since Saturday night. The coworker went to police early Tuesday.
Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies converged on the mobile home two hours later. They found the suspect.
In a bedroom, they found a black plastic crate, with a young woman’s body stuffed inside.
Detectives interviewed Varela. He reportedly said Noceda had gone through a recent breakup. She had come over to party and hang out with him. He repeated the story about how she’d overdosed on pills and concentrated THC, court papers say. He claimed she cut up the pills, and he supplied the “dab.” She passed out within a minute of mixing them. He claimed that the young woman seemed “out of it” during sex, according to the reports.
Varela went on to say he’d fallen asleep around 4:30 a.m. Hours later he woke up to find the girl cold and stiff, he told detectives. He showed his roommate the body, went to work and returned to grab a plastic tub from his mother’s home in the same neighborhood. He washed the body to try to remove DNA evidence, he told deputies. He went online to research how to get rid of a body, according to the reports.
He used the dead woman’s thumb to unlock her iPhone 8, to make a post on the app Snapchat that would make people think she’d run away from home, according to police reports.
Afterward, he tossed the phone away at a construction site, he told deputies. A detective found the phone. They planned to search its content.
Deputies spoke with the suspect’s mother. He’d been kicked out of his home in recent months, she told deputies, because of drugs and a gang lifestyle.
A state law against homicide by controlled substance has been on the books for years. But it’s a challenge to prosecute cases, because often it is difficult to trace the source of the drugs. Snohomish County prosecutors have pursued several cases in the past decade.
Varela showed up in a jail inmate’s uniform Wednesday for a hearing in Everett District Court. He appeared to be smirking.
Deputy prosecutor Bob Hendrix said the allegations involving Varela show “a callous and shocking disregard for human life.”
Judge Tam Bui found probable cause to hold him in jail. She set bail at $500,000. About 25 observers packed into the tiny gallery.
In court, Noceda’s mother, Gina Pierson, muttered that she was disgusted looking at the defendant. Outside the courtroom, the mother said she had a bad feeling when her daughter left home Saturday night. Pierson didn’t want Noceda to leave, she said, but she didn’t stop her.
“She was just an innocent 18-year-old girl, having fun, and (she) was taken advantage of,” her mother said.
Noceda leaves behind a sister, age 7. Her mother had to explain to her that Noceda was gone forever.
“I want to know why,” Pierson said. “She didn’t deserve it. Nobody deserves anything that bad.”
Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @snocaleb.