South Sound News

Suspect arrested after woman killed, infant found abandoned in her home

BONNEY LAKE, Wash. — The Pierce County Sheriff's Department arrested a suspect Wednesday night after searching for a man they believe may have been involved in the killing of a woman whose burned body was found in the Lake Tapps area.

An infant was found alive, abandoned inside her home.

Victim Linda Sweezer, 64, was found partially burned along a Lake Tapps area road on Tuesday, according to investigators. A search was underway for 25-year-old Lance Rougeau Wednesday afternoon; deputies report he is involved in the homicide, but they did not give specifics.

Officials said Wednesday night Rougeau had been found and taken into custody without incident.

Sweezer's body was discovered in the 2400 block of 169th Avenue. She was dumped along the road and then set on fire.




“They actually poured what we believe was an accelerant on her and lit her on fire in an attempt to maybe destroy the body or cover it up,” Detective Ed Troyer, spokesman for the sheriff's department, said.

Investigators believe she was actually killed at her Kent home.

Troyer announced on Wednesday that an 4-month-old girl was found inside Sweezer's home. The child was taken to a hospital for dehydration. Doctors expect a recovery.

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Sweezer was caring for the child and trying to obtain legal custody, according to PCSD.

Troyer credits detectives for moving fast in their investigation or the child could have been left unattended for much longer.

Video surveillance obtained from a home near the crime scene shows headlights from at least two vehicles around the time the body was left, but it doesn't show any other details or give a clear image of the vehicles or the people in them.

More than one person may be involved. Troyers has only released the name for Rougeau so far.  He may be driving a bronze 2003 Chevrolet Impala with Washington license plate AGX9423.

Anyone with information should call 1-800-222-8477.