Couple Defrauds and Kills Elderly Man

In a shocking case of fraud and murder, an elderly man from King County, Washington, fell victim to a pair of criminals who not only stole his money but also took his life, according to local prosecutors. The authorities in Mercer Island, where the victim resided, have been discreetly investigating the disappearance of 74-year-old Curtis Engeland. The suspects, Philip Brewer, 32, and Christina Joel Hardy, 47, were apprehended last Thursday in Riverside, California.

The investigators believe that the suspects had befriended Engeland several months prior to the incident and had been defrauding him financially. The authorities suspect that the duo confronted Engeland violently at his home on the night of February 23, using his vehicle to flee the scene. Engeland’s body was later discovered near Cosmopolis, Washington.

Engeland and Brewer had previously interacted on a dating app. Engeland had reported to the police on January 13 that he had found Brewer and some of his valuables missing after he woke up from watching a movie. The stolen items included keys, a wallet, and a cell phone, as per documents obtained by Seattle ABC affiliate KOMO.

The suspects are alleged to have stolen a significant amount of money from Engeland, including $5,000 from his checking account and $6,200 from his home equity line of credit account. During Engeland’s disappearance, Brewer and Hardy reportedly moved into his home, bringing along Brewer’s son. They claimed to investigators that Engeland had offered to rent his basement to them for $500 per month.

Engeland’s siblings, however, expressed doubts about the suspects’ claims. They had received messages purportedly from their brother, but the style of writing did not match his usual grammatically correct sentences, raising suspicions. The family members were unaware of any plans by Engeland to rent out part of his home or to leave. Following their objections, the suspects left the premises.

The authorities were able to locate Engeland’s body near Cosmopolis, Washington, by tracking the suspects’ cell phone data. The autopsy revealed that Engeland had suffered blunt force trauma to his face, a stab wound in his neck, and had a significant amount of fentanyl in his system.

The arrest of the suspects came about when a man dating Hardy’s daughter was stopped for speeding in California. He claimed he was trying to escape from Hardy and Brewer after staying with them in Blythe, Riverside County. He alleged that the suspects had confessed to killing Engeland and had plans to kidnap Hardy’s daughter to look after their children as they expected to be imprisoned. The suspects reportedly admitted to injecting Engeland with fentanyl and dumping his body, even though he was still alive when they reached the disposal site in Grays Harbor County.