Law enforcement authorities confirmed that a dead body found in the woods in Renton, Washington on Tuesday, April 11 belonged to Leticia Martinez-Cosman, 58, who went missing on March 31 after attending a Seattle Mariners baseball game with a man named Brett Gitchel, 46.
Martinez-Cosman’s family reported that she last texted a selfie of herself and Gitchel at the game before disappearing. Police arrested Gitchel on April 5 in regard to the woman’s disappearance. He has been charged with several crimes, including murder, kidnapping, theft, unlawful possession of a gun, and arson.
Gitchel is currently being held on $5 million bail, and it is unknown if he has retained an attorney or entered a plea.
The King County Medical Examiner’s Office performed an autopsy on the 58-year-old woman and determined that she died of asphyxia due to strangulation. The office ruled her death a homicide.
The victim’s brother, Ricardo Martinez, expressed his sorrow and said he wanted justice for his sister and nephew. He described his sister as kind and loving, adding that he was trying to focus on getting justice.
Police found Martinez-Cosman’s remains less than two miles from where Gitchel allegedly attacked Patrick Cosman, who is Martinez-Cosman’s adult son with special needs, on April 2. Patrick told the police that he was lured into Gitchel’s car and was told his mother had been in an accident. He managed to fight his attacker off and escaped.
Charging documents show that Gitchel kidnapped and tried to strangle Patrick to death. Martinez-Cosman’s car was found burned with accelerants about two hours after her son’s alleged kidnapping and assault.
The family has started a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for Patrick’s care, as he has special needs and needs full-time care. According to the fundraising page, Patrick’s life has been turned upside down since Martinez-Cosman was his caretaker. The fundraiser description reads that Patrick will require extensive physical and mental health needs in the coming days and months, and the family cannot handle it alone.
The page has already raised more than $34,000.