Body found in Skagit County identified

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. — Update: The remains of a man found Monday near State Route 9 between SR 534 and Big Lake Boulevard in Skagit County have been identified as 67-year-old Howard P. Benzel of Mukilteo, according to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Officials said he died from blunt force injuries and the manner of his death was homicide.

Everett police said a tenant of Benzel is suspected in his death but a motive has not been released.

Benzel worked at Access Electric Supply before he retired. His business partner of 16 years released the following statement to KIRO 7:

Howard was a lifetime friend, mentor and partner. We shared sixteen wonderful years as business partners before he retired in 2015. We have always remained in touch. His endearing smile, sense of humor and ability to handle any situation that came his way, will be remembered by anyone who met him, business or pleasure. He cared for all of us as if we were family, a great family man with a great family. Howard’s passing has left an enormous hole in our hearts. Howard was loved and respected and will be painfully missed.

Original: A 40-year-old tenant who’s suspected in the death of his landlord was taken into custody Saturday.

Everett police said officers were called to the 2100 block of Madison Street after a woman called 911 to report her 67-year-old husband missing.

The woman told police her husband had left their home in Mukilteo earlier that day to check on their Madison Street rental property in Everett, but he had never returned, police said.

Police said she then drove to the rental property and found her husband’s truck and cellphone, but he was nowhere to be found. She reported seeing one of the tenants at the property cleaning blood off the sidewalk before leaving.

When officers arrived, they noticed fresh blood outside the property and forced their way into the tenant’s unit, police said. The woman’s husband was not there but more blood was discovered inside.

Detectives with the major crimes unit were dispatched out of fear that the woman’s husband had been abducted or seriously injured, police said.

While investigating, detectives identified the tenant and found his vehicle in Marysville where he was found and detained, investigators said.

During an interview, investigators said the tenant gave them inconsistent versions of what happened.

Based on the detectives’ investigation and physical evidence they collected, they believe the husband was killed by homicidal means, and his body was transported from Madison Street by the tenant, officials said.

Police said the suspect was booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of murder and tampering with physical evidence.

The suspect’s vehicle was seized, pending a search warrant, detectives said.

Investigators said the victim’s body has not been found.