Strange case of ‘disappearing’ teen Olympia turns into murder investigation

OLYMPIA – The still-developing story of Olympia teenager Gabriel Davies began with fear last week: the 16-year-old was reported missing, last seen in a remote area of ​​Thurston County . After a search and public concern, relief came: Investigators found Davies late Thursday evening, not far from where he was reported missing.

Then came the shock: Davies and another teenager, also 16, were arrested on Friday on suspicion of second-degree murder. The victim: A 51-year-old man, was found dead at an address in Orting, a small town in eastern Pierce County,

Again and again, the reactions online began with the same words: no one saw it coming. What happened? Here are the knowns and the unknowns.

No fees yet

Pierce County Sheriff’s Detectives arrested Davies and another 16-year-old on Friday evening. Both were incarcerated in Remann Hall, the Pierce County Juvenile Detention Center, on suspicion of second degree murder, first degree burglary and illegal possession of firearms.

The teens have not been formally charged with the crimes – a decision will likely come Tuesday, after the holiday weekend, according to a spokesperson for the Pierce County District Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors will also decide whether Davies and the other individual could be charged as adults, a factor that carries more serious potential consequences.

The victim

The victim in the case, still not formally identified, is described as a 51-year-old man. Pierce County sheriff’s deputies discovered his remains Thursday morning, in response to a request for social assistance. The man had not reported to work for four days.

Deputies entered a residence in the 21900 block of East 190th Street in Orting and found the man dead from an apparent gunshot wound. They did not find a weapon at the scene. The victim had been dead for at least 24 hours before her body was discovered Thursday morning, said sheriff’s department spokesman Sgt. Darren Moss. The exact time of death will be determined after a thorough investigation.

Other real estate and court records from Pierce and Thurston counties link the address to a 51-year-old man with longstanding ties to Davies as well as his mother. All have lived at the address for several years. Davies’ man and mother were a couple, according to statements filed by the two individuals in a long-running family law case. Davies’ man and mother filed multiple statements in support of each other.


Davies became the subject of intense community and media interest after his family reported him missing on August 31. Authorities launched a search after his vehicle was found abandoned on Tilley Road that evening.

In an interview with the Centralia Chronicle, Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza said his department was contacted Thursday by the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department for “further investigations and interests.”

That same day, hours later, Davies was found in the 13600 block of Tilley Road Southwest, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office. He was north of where deputies said they found his vehicle in “suspicious circumstances”. Detectives reportedly found scattered items, a small amount of blood and a smashed cell phone at the scene of Davies’ vehicle.

Information from the News Tribune and Olympian archives is included in this report.