Suspect in court after murder of woman whose body was set on fire near Lake Tapps

by: Kevin McCarty Updated:

Lance Rougeau came into court in a suicide prevention smock and was ordered held without bail for 72 hours. 

Rougeau, 25, is suspected in the murder of Linda Sweezer, a 64-year-old grandmother whose body was found dumped and set on fire on a dead-end road in the Lake Tapps-Bonney Lake area early Tuesday.

Cellphone video obtained exclusively by KIRO 7 shows Rougeau being taken into custody in Kent late Wednesday. 

The video shows him walking out with his hands up after a SWAT team surrounded his apartment.

So far, Rougeau is the only suspect arrested in Sweezer's murder, but when her body was dumped, a home surveillance camera captured two sets of headlights. Investigators say they believe Rougeau did not act alone and issued a warning to anyone else who took part in Sweezer's murder.

“We want them to contact us before we find them,” said Detective Ed Troyer, of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office. “If they have any type of involvement at all, now’s the time to contact us, because when we come find you, that’s going to be too late.”

Detectives said it appears Sweezer was killed at her home in Kent and her body was then dumped in Pierce County where it was set on fire in an apparent attempt to destroy evidence. The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office said she was strangled to death.

Her four-month-old granddaughter was found inside the home when investigators served a search warrant at the residence. The baby girl was alone and dehydrated but alive. She has been placed in foster care.

Even though the murder was allegedly committed in King County, Pierce County sheriff's deputies have been conducting the investigation since Sweezer’s body was discovered by someone walking along 169th Avenue East early Tuesday morning, so he will likely be charged and tried in Pierce County.

“If two counties both have proper jurisdiction and proper venue, then we’ll look at other factors, like which county did the bulk of the investigation,” said Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Lindquist.

Rougeau was booked on suspicion of second-degree murder but Lindquist said the investigation into Sweezer’s death is ongoing, so that could change. Rougeau is expected to enter a plea on Monday. 


More news from KIRO 7:


DOWNLOAD OUR FREE NEWS APP

Next Up: