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Police ID Likely Homicide Victim Without Finding a Body

Saturday, August 30, 2014
Police have identified the victim of a likely homicide that has puzzled them for two weeks since a federal agent stumbled on a pile of ripped up flooring covered in blood by the side of a road in Auburn, Wash.

Commander Mike Hirman of the Auburn Police Department said authorities have confirmed that blood on the material is from 30-year-old Brandon Zomalt.

Hirman said police believe it is likely that Zomalt was killed in a homicide, although without a body or further evidence they cannot confirm anything.

"Obviously it's difficult to know, we have to go based on some assumptions," Hirman said. "[Due to] the amount of blood and some bone fragments, we're investigating it as a homicide.

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The case started on Aug. 13, when an off-duty federal agent driving home saw a small fire about 20 feet from the road. After the agent pulled over to stop the fire, another man nearby got into a dark SUV and fled the area.

The agent was unable to catch up or identify the subject. When the agent returned to the scene he found ripped up flooring, carpet and clothing in the pile. All of the debris was covered in blood.

Since then, police have been searching for clues about who the victim or perpetrator could be. Hirman said police were able to identify Zomalt from the State Combined DNA Index System. Zomalt appeared to be from Puyallup, Wash., which is south of Auburn, Hirman said.

According to police, Zomalt had a lengthy criminal history including arrests on suspicion of first-degree assault, harassment and domestic abuse. Police said Zomalt did not have a steady address and had been living with family and friends.

He has not been seen since before Aug. 13. Police are asking anyone with information to call a tip line at 253-288-7403. The suspect is described as being a possible mixed-race male with a slender build and short dark hair and approximately 5' 8" to 5' 10" tall. He was driving a dark SUV, when last seen.

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