Kent Police have arrested a suspect – a 23-year-old Kent man – in the carjacking case that led to the death of 38-year-old Jered Sperling.
Investigators did not release the suspect’s name pending formal charges.
Kent investigators also identified a second person of interest. He is cooperating with the investigation, but police have determined that he is not a suspect in the case.
“We want to thank every person who called in tips,” said Detective Melanie Robinson. “This is a very tragic case that has rocked everyone to the core. Our deepest condolences remain with the family and friends of Jered Sperling.”
Sperling, who went missing after the carjacking Monday night, was found dead in the back of his pickup Tuesday. Officers located Sperling in the pickup at a parking lot near the Cascade subsidized housing complex in the 20600 block of 106th Avenue, said Kent Police Assistant Chief Jarod Kasner in a phone interview.
Police received tips that led detectives to the parking lot at about 10:50 a.m. Tuesday, Kasner said. He said the body was a man in his 30s and believed to be that of Sperling, who was reported missing Monday night. Kasner did not say how Sperling died because the homicide case is still under investigation. As of Tuesday, the King County Medical Examiner’s Office had not released a cause of death.
“We are absolutely sickened by this senseless tragedy. Our heart goes out to Jered’s wife and family,” Robinson said.
Officers responded just after 8 p.m. Monday to a report of a carjacking at the East Hill Storage facility, 10625 SE 240th St.
“The victim had his vehicle parked in front of the facility unattended,” Chief Rafael Padilla said. “The suspect tried to steal the vehicle and the victim tried to intervene to prevent that theft. When it was all said and done, the suspect was able to flee with the victim in the truck.”
Padilla said Sperling reportedly did not know the suspects.
“I want the community to be aware that from the information I received, we strongly believe this started out as a random crime of opportunity – in essence an unattended truck was enticing and started this whole chain of events,” Padilla said.
The killing has shocked the community.
“It’s a sad event,” Padilla said. “Our victim is a father and a husband. Our prayers and thoughts and condolences go to the family.”
Cynthia Sperling, the wife of Jered, posted on Facebook Tuesday morning:
“PLEASE HELP!!! Last night around 8:00 PM in Kent, WA my husband Jered Sperling’s truck (2013 GMC Denali license plate# C57032L) was stolen and he jumped into the back trying to stop it. He has not been seen or heard from since. Please share, please help me find him!”
According to Facebook, Jared Sperling and his wife moved to Kent in August 2017 from Lodi, Calif. He attended Lodi High School. He and Cynthia were married in 2011.
On June 26, 2018, Jared posted the following message:
“Happy Anniversary to my beautiful wife Cynthia Sperling. We were just kids when we started this crazy ride 18 years ago. Hasn’t always been easy but I can tell you that with every day my love continues to grow. You are my sun! My moon! My starlit sky. I love you Cynthia more than ever. To many more Anniversaries.”
This story originally appeared in the Kent Reporter, a sibling paper of The Daily Herald.