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Body discovered in Randle ID’d as missing teen, 2 arrested

Benjamin Eastman, 16, of Randle. (Photo: Courtesy of family via Lewis County Sheriff's Office)

LEWIS COUNTY, Wash. — Coroner’s officials Saturday positively identified a body found buried in a shallow grave in Randle as 16-year-old Benjamin Eastman III.

The boy’s body was discovered while sheriff’s deputies were searching for him earlier this week. Eastman’s father said he hadn’t heard from his son since June 23.

According to Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer, two brothers, one who was believed to be friends with Eastman, were deemed people of interest in the investigation.

They were arrested Friday night by Washington State Patrol during a traffic stop near Ellensburg, which is more than 100 miles from where Eastman’s body was found.

Meyer said the brothers were taken into custody without conflict and booked into jail on suspicion of murder.

“This is a horrific and senseless death that will have a lasting impact on this small [Randle] community, surrounding area and all involved,” Lewis County Sheriff Robert Snaza said. “Through the work of our deputies, detectives, other agencies and the citizens of Lewis County, we have been able to apprehend the two we feel are responsible for the murder of Ben Eastman III.”

Q13 News is not naming the two individuals arrested because they have not been formally charged.

The prosecutor’s office said it is continuing to review the investigation before a charging decision is made.

Charges could be filed as soon as Monday, July 2. The brothers are also expected make their first court appearance on that day.