Mysterious case of bodies in suitcase revealed viral on TikTok has conviction

Landlord was found guilty of killing tenants in the US – he mutilated their bodies before disposing of remains in suitcases.

9 dec
– 07:07

(updated at 08:06)

The bodies of Jessica Lewis and Austin Wenner were found by teenagers in two suitcases

The bodies of Jessica Lewis and Austin Wenner were found by teenagers in two suitcases

Photo: BBC News Brazil

A landlord was found guilty of murdering two tenants in the United States in a case that made headlines when TikTok refused to remove video of the discovery of the victims’ bodies.

Michael Dudley, 64, was convicted of killing Jessica Lewis, 35, and Austin “Cash” Wenner, 27.

In June 2020, he shot victims and mutilated their bodies before disposing of their remains in two suitcases.

Later that month, three teenagers shooting videos for TikTok on a Seattle beach found the bodies.

While socializing on the boardwalk, they saw that there was a pair of suitcases on the rocks. Upon opening them, they came across the corpses.

The teens posted the video on TikTok, which quickly went viral.

In the images, they are intrigued by what’s inside the bags. Then, one of the suitcases appears open, and one of the girls appears calling the police due to the strong smell exhaled. There are no images of the bodies.

The discovery video has been viewed more than 30 million times, but TikTok initially said the content did not violate its guidelines — “because it did not include images of the remains”.

The company was pressured by relatives of the victims, and the video was removed several months later from the platform – but it is not known whether it was deleted by TikTok or by the teenager who posted it.

The three teens called the police once they found the bags, leading to the murder investigation.

A neighbor testified before a Seattle court that he heard gunshots and a man pleading for his life.

The police initially went to the house, but no one answered. Dudley was later arrested.

Court case documents indicate that Lewis and Wenner entered into a dispute over an unpaid rent with Dudley, in whose home they lived.

Dudley’s sentence will be announced in March — he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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