Suspect in Leticia Martinez-Cosman death pleads not guilty
Apr 24, 2023, 11:04 AM | Updated: 11:19 am
(Photo from Kate Stone)
Update 4/24 11:04 a.m.:
Brett Gitchel, the man accused of killing Leticia Martinez-Cosman after a Mariners game, appeared in court Monday and plead not guilty to all charges.
Gitchel is charged with not only Martinez-Cosman’s murder but also the arson of her car, the attempted murder of her son, and the theft of jewelry from Costco.
Detectives say he met Martinez-Cosman at a Costco about two weeks before going to the baseball game together.
Update 4/17 8:48 a.m.:
The King County Medical Examiner’s Office has revealed the cause of death of the 58-year-old woman who had been missing since going on a date at a Mariners game.
Her body was found Thursday in a wooded part of Renton, near State Route 167.
The ME’s office said that Martinez-Cosman died on April 1 and the cause of death has been ruled as asphyxiation due to strangulation. It was ruled a homicide.
King County prosecutors plan to add second-degree murder to the list of crimes Gitchel is already charged with, prosecutor’s office spokesman Casey McNerthney said Friday.
The King County Prosecuting Attorney has charged Brett Gitchel, a 46-year-old man, with first-degree attempted murder, among other charges, after allegedly attempting to kill Patrick Cosman around April 2.
Patrick Cosman is the son of Leticia Martinez-Cosman, a 58-year-old woman who’s been missing since going on a date at a Mariners game March 31. Authorities described Martinez-Cosman as 5-feet-9-inches tall, weighing approximately 135 pounds, with green eyes and brown hair.
Gitchel’s other charges include first-degree kidnapping, unlawful possession of a firearm, first-degree theft, and second-degree arson. The arson charge is related to Seattle firefighters discovering a vehicle “fully engulfed” in flames less than two miles from T-Mobile Park on April 2. The vehicle, a 2016 Honda CRV, was identified as belonging to Martinez-Cosman and was determined to have been torched using an accelerant.
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“Leticia Martinez-Cosman is a medication-dependent diabetic. She is also the mother and primary caregiver for her 24-year-old son with disabilities,” the charging documents read. “Leticia has not been seen alive for 10 days and has had no personal contact with her son, friends, or family.”
The documents stated Martinez-Cosman has not shown up for work while none of her personal vehicles are unaccounted for.
“It’s way out of the ordinary. She’s so in touch with her family, families, really everything important to her,” Liz Latham, a friend who met Martinez-Cosman through their Buddhist group, told KIRO Newsradio. “Leticia has a son, Patrick, who requires special attention. He’s neurodivergent, and he has special needs. So she is in touch with her son 24/7, always checking on him, and he lives with her, and she had been saving for years to try to get a bigger house for the two of them.”
“Leticia is a very dependable person and has no known history of substance abuse or running away,” the documents continued. “A day after Leticia was last seen alive with Brett Gitchel at the Mariners game, Brett Gitchel kidnapped her disabled son and attempted to strangle him to unconsciousness. Two hours after the kidnapping and assault of her son, Leticia’s car was found burned from a fire started with accelerants in the passenger seat.”
The King County Prosecutor’s Office stated Gitchel’s cell records — using cell tower data to triangulate the location and position of a phone’s location — have identified that Brett Gitchel’s cell phone activity is consistent with him being at Martinez-Cosman’s home at 2 a.m. April 2, the time her son Patrick was kidnapped.
In an interview with detectives, Patrick recounted being awoken by the sound of a man knocking on his bedroom door on April 2. He was not able to articulate who the man was but described his attacker as being in his 30s or 40s with facial hair and glasses.
Suspect in woman’s disappearance from Mariners game later allegedly attacked her son
The man told him that his mother had been in an accident and that he was going to take him to see her at the hospital. Patrick got into a car with him and “drove around for what seemed like hours.”
The son told detectives that the man then got into the seat in the car behind him and tried to “kill him by smothering or strangling him.” The son said he was able to fight the man off, even managing to bite his hand.
The son then reportedly escaped from the car and called 911, before going into a neighboring yard and hiding in the bushes.
When Gitchel was brought in by police, he had “numerous visible injuries on his body, including many cuts and scrapes on his hands,” as well as bruises on his face, arms, and body, according to an interview with police two days later.
Historical data records stated in the early afternoon of April 1, about 15 hours after Leticia was last seen alive at the Mariners’ game, Gitchel drove outside of the city of Seattle into a remote mountainous region in King County, where he reportedly stayed for a short period of time and then returned to Seattle, where about 12 hours later he would kidnap and assault her son and burn her vehicle.
Martinez-Cosman is still missing, and though extensive social, public, and national media have drawn attention to this incident, no one has been able to provide evidence of Leticia being alive after she left the Mariners game.
Seattle Police detectives are again asking for the public’s help in locating Leticia Martinez-Cosman. A 46 y/o male has been booked into jail for investigation of murder. If anyone has information about this case, please call the SPD Violent Crimes Tip Line at (206) 233-5000. https://t.co/yxRWbqXKls
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) April 6, 2023
The man has not appeared in court, and bail was not addressed during the hearing on Friday. He remains in jail while awaiting a charging decision from the county prosecutor.