Financial fraud scheme leads to murder of missing Washington man: Suspects arrested in California for homicide

Mercer Island, Washington – A man and a woman are facing allegations of murdering a 74-year-old man from Washington in connection to a broader financial fraud plot, authorities revealed. The duo was apprehended in Southern California on Thursday and is set to be extradited back to Washington to stand trial for the homicide charges.

The disappearance of Curtis Engeland was reported by his family on February 24, after he was last spotted at his residence on Mercer Island, located near Seattle, according to a statement released by the police. Initially treated as a missing person case, law enforcement later discovered the man’s deceased body near Cosmopolis, a city situated some 100 miles along the Pacific Coast.

Engeland was found to have suffered a fatal stab wound to the neck, as reported by CBS affiliate KIRO-TV News. Investigators utilized GPS data from the suspects’ mobile phones to locate Engeland’s remains. Their investigation suggests that the suspects had met Engeland several months prior to the incident and had defrauded him financially. Police suspect that the suspects had a violent encounter with Engeland at his home on the evening of February 23 before fleeing the area using his car.

The suspects, identified as 32-year-old Philip Brewer and 47-year-old Christina Hardy, are accused of devising a plan to murder Engeland, take over his residence, manipulate his financial accounts, and make extravagant purchases following his death. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office documented these allegations against Brewer and Hardy, who also allegedly used Engeland’s phone to stage fake conversations to mislead authorities.

Additional details about the circumstances surrounding the crime have not been disclosed by law enforcement, although they believe both suspects left Washington shortly after Engeland’s murder. They purportedly rented new vehicles and switched cell phones in an attempt to evade detection. CBS News reached out to the Mercer Island Police Department for further information but did not receive an immediate response.

The accused individuals’ extradition back to Washington will mark the next phase in the legal proceedings as the case involving the murder of Curtis Engeland continues to unfold. The investigation into this complex and tragic case is ongoing as authorities work to bring justice for the victim and his family.