A man suspected of dismembering a Washington state woman who vanished after a planned date night has been charged with first-degree murder, days after her head and other body parts were discovered in a recycling bin in downtown Seattle.
Prosecutors filed charges Wednesday against John R. Charlton, who stands accused in the gruesome killing of Ingrid Lyne, a 40-year-old nurse and mother. In addition to a count of first-degree murder, the 37-year-old Charlton was also charged with theft of a motor vehicle, according to a news release.
“The tragic murder of Ingrid Lyne has left a family and community in a spiral of grief and anguish,” King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg said in a statement. “We may never understand why she was killed.”
Charlton is being held on $2 million bail. He is due to appear in court for arraignment later this month.
An email sent to his attorney early Thursday morning was not immediately returned.
— Alison Grande (@AlisonKIRO7) April 13, 2016
According to a probable-cause statement posted online by Fox affiliate KCPQ, the body parts were discovered Saturday when a Seattle resident was bringing in his recycling and trash bins and noticed that “there was weight in the recycling container.”
When the man dumped out the contents of the bin on his lawn, the bagged remains tumbled out, and he contacted authorities. The remains included an arm with a hand, a lower leg, a foot and the human head, according to the documents.
“The head showed no signs of decomposition and the facial features were intact and distinctive,” reads the probable-cause statement, which noted that the affiant was “quite sure the head is that of Ingrid Maree Lyne.”
On Wednesday, the remains were officially identified as Lyne’s, according to the Associated Press.
Lyne was reported missing Saturday, after her ex-husband arrived at her home with their three daughters, according to the documents. She didn’t answer her cellphone, and her car wasn’t parked outside the home.
Lyne’s ex-husband called her mother, who came to the house and contacted police.
When investigators searched the residence, they found a box of plastic trash bags that appeared “identical in color and size” to those in which the body parts were found. They also found a 15-inch pruning saw near the tub in a bathroom, according to the probable-cause statement.
A neighbor told detectives that Lyne had been dating a man named John, the documents state. The couple apparently had plans to go a Seattle Mariners game Friday; an officer who looked at her computer saw the baseball tickets on the screen.
Lyne’s mother showed investigators text messages she had exchanged with Charlton, according to the documents, which detailed some of the conversation.
“My name is John. I thought she was with her kids today?” Charlton responded.
“When did you see her last?” Lyne’s mother responded. “She’s not here, her phone is here and driver’s license and purse but she’s not, please respond, I’ve called 911.”
“911?” Charlton texted back. “What’s going on? We went to the Mariners game last night but we didn’t stay the night together because she has her kids today … not sure what she had told you about me and our relationship.”
Then Lyne’s mother wrote: “She’s missing. What time did you see her last. A police officer needs to speak to you as you may be the last person who saw her. Please call [telephone number].”
According to the documents, Charlton did not respond to Lyne’s mother again.
“Please John, did Ingrid say anything about someone coming to see her after you separated from her last night,” Lyne’s mother wrote in her last text. “We can’t find her or her car. As I said her phone and ID and purse are at her house but she and her car are gone without a trace. Any help would be appreciated. We are desperate. She would never just go off and leave her family.”
When Charlton was questioned by authorities, he told investigators that he and Lyne had gone to the baseball game, but said he was unclear on what happened that night.
“Charlton claimed that he had been so intoxicated on Friday night that he could not recall how he and Lyne returned to her residence after the Mariners game, or what transpired when they got there,” the documents state. “He said he believed they had sex, and said Lyne was acting ‘weird,’ but could not or would not provide any further details.”
He also couldn’t remember how he left the home and told investigators that on Saturday and Sunday, he spent the night at the home of an ex-girlfriend.
“This weekend, a light went out of our lives forever,” Lyne’s family said in a statement. “Ingrid, beloved mother, daughter, sister, and friend was taken from us for reasons we still cannot comprehend. Our hearts are broken and can never be fully mended.”