Breaking News
More () »

Cause of death for two Enumclaw teens could be weather-related

A King County Sgt. said their car had been underwater for the last few days due to heavy flooding.

ENUMCLAW, Wash. — The King County Sheriff's Office believes it located the bodies of two missing Enumclaw teens in the Mud Mountain Dam area.

There is no sign of foul play.

The Sheriff's Office was searching for 18-year-old Austin Grote and his girlfriend, 17-year-old Aleecia McCaskill after their car was found near a popular hiking trail.

The two were found when floodwaters receded near the Mud Mountain Dam, less than a mile from their car. Their car had been abandoned nearby and underwater over the last few days due to flooding.

The medical examiner will determine the cause of death, but investigators are exploring whether the teens became trapped in the floodwaters or died from exposure and cold, or both.

A vigil for the two teens is planned for Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Mud Mountain Trailhead.

"I just don't know what to say about it. It's like someone took 17 years of my life and my daughter away. But we've got to find out what happened first," said Aleecia's father, Frank Vareschi.

"I just wish we could know why they were coming here in the first place or what they were doing and how they got trapped around the flood or whatever. Because if they weren't too far from the car, they could've just walked back," said Megan Rutherford, Aleecia's sister.

The two have been missing since Saturday and were last seen at Safeway in Enumclaw at 2:45 p.m.

The area is a popular hiking area, less than two miles from Mud Mountain Dam Park.

Sergeant Jason Stanley with the King County Sheriff's Office said 40 volunteers spent Monday searching for the teens, in an area spanning about four square miles.

"It's a hard area to get lost in. There are roads crisscrossing all over the place and some of the area is cleared cut so it's wide open, it's kind of a mystery out here," said Sgt. Stanley.