LYNNWOOD — A Lynnwood man pleaded guilty Thursday to raping a teenager as she died of an overdose on painkillers, and then hiding her body and joking about it with co-workers.
Brian Roberto Varela, 20, pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter, admitting that he negligently caused the death of Alyssa Mae Noceda. He also admitted to third-degree rape and unlawful disposal of human remains, a misdemeanor.
Under state sentencing guidelines for manslaughter, he could face less than three years in prison.
About a dozen family members and friends of Noceda attended Thursday’s court hearing. At least one young woman wore a dark hoodie, with “Justice-4-Alyssa” written in white lettering on the back.
Varela arrived in court in green-and-white jail coveralls.
Noceda, 18, a former student at Mariner High School, had gone to a party at a Martha Lake mobile home on the night of Feb. 3, with extra clothes and plans to stay the night, according to charging papers. She spent the evening with Varela.
In a later interview with police, he claimed she’d brought Percocet pills to cut up and snort in his room. He loaded a “dab” of highly concentrated THC and gave it to her.
Noceda collapsed within a minute of mixing the drugs, according to Varela’s story. He searched the internet for, “what to do if someone overdoses on perks.” Google told him to call 911. He did not.
Instead, he took photos of Noceda’s mostly nude body and texted pictures to a group of friends, according to charging papers. He used vulgar chat speak to suggest he was laughing about it. One friend, 18, asked for video.
“But not joking she od bruh,” Varela wrote. He added that he didn’t care, because he was sexually assaulting her “to pass the time.”
Varela played an online game until he fell asleep, according to court papers. Noceda seemed to be snoring, though he later realized she was choking on saliva, according to his version of events. He awoke to find her cold to the touch.
Medical tests later showed Noceda had overdosed on fentanyl and alprazolam, a generic name for Xanax. Street drugs are often sold as something they’re not. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that can be 50 times more powerful than heroin, has been tied to an international rise in overdoses because users can easily mistake it for a less-potent opioid. Just this month, authorities announced they seized at least 10,000 fentanyl pills that had been pressed to look like Percocet, at a home near Arlington. Two men were charged in federal court with trafficking the pills.
On that Sunday in February, Varela showed Noceda’s body to his housemate, who told him to call 911, according to the housemate’s story. Again, Varela did not.
He went to work a double shift at Dairy Queen, leaving her body on his bed. Afterward he grabbed a crate from his mother’s home down the street, washed Noceda’s body and stuffed her inside. He took another picture of her. Varela went online to search, “is it possible to bypass a password on iphone 8.”
He used her thumb to unlock her phone, and made a post on her Snapchat — “I’m out. Bye” — to imply that Noceda had run away.
The next day at work, Varela told a Dairy Queen co-worker the story in grisly detail, and divulged his plan to bury the body. The co-worker later found a desperate Facebook post from Noceda’s mother. He recognized the missing girl as the same person Varela had been texting pictures of.
The co-worker called police. Officers converged on the mobile home to arrest Varela. Noceda’s body was still in the home. Some of her clothing had been hidden, because Varela knew it would have his DNA on it, he admitted.
Varela had ditched Noceda’s phone behind the Dairy Queen. Police found it where he said it’d be.
A sentencing date was set for Nov. 15.
Eric Stevick contributed to this story.
Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @snocaleb.