Father of man accused of killing 6-year-old calls son 'gentle giant,' says he has autism

By: Ranji Sinha , KIRO 7 News Staff

Updated:

The father of the 19-year-old suspect who is accused of killing 6-year-old Dayvid Pakko spoke from Texas on Tuesday.

Randy Henckel said he is grieving his grandson Dayvid’s death and trying to make sense of his son Andrew Henckel’s arrest in connection with the crime.

RELATED: 19-year-old arrested after 6-year-old Lynnwood boy found in dumpster

Andrew Henckel, who was visiting from Texas, is Dayvid's uncle.

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Key developments:

  • Dayvid Pakko last seen Monday afternoon
  • He stayed home from school under care of his uncle
  • Body found in dumpster at apartment building Tuesday
  • 19-year-old uncle from Texas, Andrew Henckel, arrested 
  • Andrew Henckel admitted to killing David, authorities say 

Randy took the opportunity to defend his son and explain Andrew’s circumstances.

Randy described Andrew as a gentle giant who is more than 6 feet tall, weighs 200 pounds and has been diagnosed with autism.  Randy said his son’s place on the autism spectrum leans toward Asperger’s syndrome.

"He's extremely mild. He's introverted. He's everything aside from the Asperger's. He's been a perfect child," said Randy.

Randy said his son, the only suspect in the Dayvid's murder, has never been in trouble with the law and probably has no understanding of the legal process.

Dayvid Pakko

"My viewpoint on this is they probably did Mirandize him but he wouldn’t have any context for that," said Randy.  

On Monday night, there was a frantic search for Dayvid, who was described as mildly autistic, after he disappeared while he was under the care of his uncle, Andrew Henckel.

Teams of people fanned out near his home near Lynnwood. On Tuesday morning, Dayvid’s body was found in a dumpster just feet away from where he lived. Andrew was taken into custody, questioned and then later arrested.  

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Since Andrew’s arrest, Randy said access to his son has been limited.

“My daughter, Andrew's sister, out of Austin, Texas, is up there right now, she's not allowed to see him, and she's physically there.”
 
Randy believes his son Andrew can't understand fully what is happening, and his condition may make him more compliant and willing to answer questions.

Andrew Henckel, suspect in murder of Dayvid Pakko

 
He said that is even more reason why Andrew needs legal representation.

“I told the detective last night while they were still searching for my grandson, that he was autistic. And they said, 'we get that and we'll handle him with special care.' Special care does not include not letting family members talk to him, or explaining why he might want a lawyer there," said Randy.
 
Randy admitted he does not know the full truth of what happened to his grandson, but he wants to make sure Andrew was not coerced into admitting anything that could put him in legal jeopardy.

“As far as demeanor leading up to this event, whatever it was, there was absolutely zero indication that Andrew was capable of something like this.”
 
He also expressed deep concern over Andrew’s ability to process any of the rigorous questions and situations that come with a legal investigation.

“He hasn't had any interactions with the law whatsoever, we'll put it that way. So, this process of bringing him in and interrogating him with his autism, makes me question the validity of anything he said without legal counsel present or a family member present.”
 
Randy said that his son may not even fully understand what a lawyer is, let alone understand his rights.

“You know what they do, they asked him, 'do you waive your rights,' and he would have said, 'yes, I'll talk to you.'”

He said both he and his family have been trying to contact Andrew through the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

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