The following post contains details that some may find disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.
Sixteen year old Benjamin Eastman was a well-liked kid. His classmates describe him as kind and caring, funny and likeable. Browse through his Facebook account and you’ll see that he was very close to his father. Pictures show the two fishing, riding dirt bikes together and laughing and embracing in selfies.
During the early hours of June 24th, after finishing up a videogame session with his dad, Benjamin left his father’s home in Randle to meet up with his friend, Benito Marquez. The boys planned to go on a camping trip together, but according to Marquez, Benjamin never showed up.
Several days passed and the sixteen year old had still not turned up. His father (known locally as “BJ”) eventually reported him missing to the local authorities at 7:45 a.m. on June 27th after repeated attempts to find or at least contact Benjamin had failed. BJ admits that he would have reported his son missing earlier, but he was so used to the teenager moving between his house, his mother’s home and the homes of other family members to realize that no one had seen him in a few days.
Investigation into the case of the missing teenager revealed that the last person Benjamin had contacted was his long-time friend Benito Marquez. Marquez had reached out to online friends for help finding Benjamin by posting a missing poster to his Facebook feed. The poster detailed the clothes Benjamin was wearing at the time of his disappearance as well as the date he was last seen and a basic description of the boy. “Please if you hear anything about him or where he’s at notify Bj Eastman and send prayers out for his family” he wrote.
The following day investigators began searching for the missing teenager in the local area and it wasn’t long before their attention was turned to a sight that made them feel very uneasy. They discovered a shallow grave with recently turned soil and a small wooden cross plunged into the earth at the head of mound. The grave was found on a long stretch of rural land owned by the Marquez family. They assured investigators that it was the grave of a family pet, a dog, they said, that had recently passed away. Police were not convinced and decided that considering the circumstances they should take a look at the grave.
16 year old Benito Marquez and his 21 year old brother Jonathan R. Adamson were over two hours and 121 miles away in Ellensburg, Washington, by the time police had discovered the body of Benjamin Eastman in the makeshift grave. They were eventually stopped while driving along interstate 90 by state police officers during a routine traffic check. Both brothers were taken into custody on the suspicion of the murder of Benjamin Eastman.
Autopsy revealed that Benjamin had died as a result of blunt force trauma, but the details of what exactly happened that night were much more disturbing than anyone could have imagined.
During the trial details of the violence inflicted upon the victim shocked the courtroom.
During the early hours of June 24th, 2018, Benjamin Eastman exchanged messages with his friend, Benito Marquez, who convinced him to leave his father’s house in Randal to go on a camping trip. Both Marquez and his older half-brother Adamson then lured the unsuspecting teenager out into the woods where they began to physically assault him, kicking and hitting him. When asked how many times they believed they kicked the victim, Jonathan Adamson shockingly told the court “around 100 times”, a number that correlated with the injuries listed on the autopsy report. The brothers then revealed a detail that the victim’s father was not even aware of- they had sexually assaulted Benjamin Eastman with a stick while he was alive before finally bashing his head in with a rock.
The entire ordeal was estimated to have gone on for 20 - 45 minutes.
They then stripped his body and buried him before attempting to destroy evidence by burning his and their own clothing. They also burned the shovel used to dig the grave; however the metal head of the spade remained.
Paranoia later got the better of them, and they confessed to digging up the victim’s body and relocating it to a hurriedly made shallow grave on their grandparent’s land, which they marked with a cross.
The brothers were charged with first degree murder, rape, unlawful disposal of remains and tampering with evidence. Sixteen year old Marquez is being tried as an adult. They are both being held on a 10 million dollar bail.
The victim’s father, BJ Eastman, told reporters that he wanted to sit in the front row during the trial, so that his son’s killers could look him in the eye as they confessed the details of what they had done. He made sure to lean forward onto the railing so he could not be ignored by the brothers who murdered his son. BJ describes Benjamin as the perfect son and his best friend who will be dearly missed. In an admirable display of strength he has revealed in numerous online reports that he aims to get through the heart wrenching tragedy through love, positivity and the support of the local community. When things get too difficult he tries to remember his son’s smile and laughter. He recalls how no matter how angry or bad he felt, his son could always turn his mood around by simply being present, and it’s that same positivity he now calls upon to fight through such a tragic situation.
So far, no motive for the crime has been offered.