The following report is on a Tacoma murder and related house fire that took place earlier this month. The details are gruesome. MyNorthwest would like to warn more sensitive readers.
A night of drug-use between friends led to an alleged violent, double Tacoma murder, decapitation and arson to hide the evidence.
The Tacoma Fire Department responded to a house fire at 3714 South Yakima Avenue on Jan. 6. The home was in the process of being renovated. Firefighters discovered two burned bodies in the home after the fire was put out. The bodies were found in an upstairs bathroom, according to charging documents.
Investigators with the Tacoma Police Department determined that one of the bodies had its hands bound. Both victims were decapitated. One head was located in the home. The other was not found on site.
In the wake of the incident, the Pierce County prosecutor has charged Matthew R. Leupold with two counts of aggravated murder and first degree arson. Charges of rendering criminal assistance were recommended for his sister Lindsey M. Leupold. Another person, a juvenile, has also been arrested in relation to the crimes.
Tacoma murder and arson
Tacoma investigators were able to identify the two victims, both women, as a 31-year-old and a 22-year-old. The two had been known to stay at the home from time to time.
Sources led investigators to suspects Matthew Luepod and Lindsey Leupold, as well as a juvenile as suspects in the case. According to charging documents, Matthew admitted that he was recently hanging out at the residence with the other suspects and victims on the evening of Jan. 4. He reportedly told police that the suspects and victims were all consuming drugs that night. At one point, he told investigators, he began hearing voices in his head and “became possessed,” documents state. He said that the voices told him to “kill her.” He reportedly admitted to assaulting both victims with his fists and a hammer in a bedroom.
Matthew then reportedly took the victims to the bathroom where he decapitated them using multiple tools in the home.
Charging documents state that Lindsey did not take part in the murders, but helped clean up the scene the day after the incident. She reportedly told investigators that she and the juvenile witnessed the murders before running out of the room. The juvenile included in the charging documents also reportedly helped clean up the scene, dispose of evidence outside the home, and assisted in lighting the fire in the home. The juvenile also led investigators to where evidence was dropped, which included a backpack. The second head was discovered inside that backpack.
Charging documents note that Matthew is a convicted felon who was very recently released from prison where he was held on firearms-related charges.