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Washington serial killer suspect lured victims to their deaths with promises of finding 'buried gold': docs

Washington state prosecutors have charged Richard Bradley Jr. in connection with murders of Brandi Blake, Emilio Maturin, Michael Goeman and his son Vance Lakey.

A Washington state serial killer suspect is accused of luring at least four victims to their deaths after asking them to help him dig up "buried gold."

King County prosecutors initially arrested and charged Richard Bradley Jr., 40, in May 2021 with one count of first-degree murder in connection with the murder of Brandi Blake, 44.

Now, he faces murder charges in the deaths of three more people, including Emilio Maturin, 26; Michael Goeman,59; and his son Vance Lakey, 31, after Auburn detectives recovered three rib bones near Blake's body.

"[D]efendant Richard Bradley has a common scheme: he tells an individual that he needs their help digging up gold, lures them out to a wooded area, alone with him, murders them, and buries/leaves their body deep in the park," King County Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Thomas C. O'Ban wrote in court filings earlier this month. "After completing his murder, the defendant takes possession of the victim’s vehicle and anything inside the vehicle, and is seen driving that vehicle in the hours/days after the victim is missing."

King County Sheriff's Office investigators determined through witness testimony and evidence recovered from Game Farm Park in Auburn that Bradley "used this scheme with both Emilio Maturin and Brandi Blake."

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"With Michael Goeman and Vance Lakey, the defendant lured them to a different wooded area in Auburn, but two small shovels were found next to the victims’ decaying bodies, and the defendant was seen driving the victims’ car and motorcycle in the days following their disappearance." O'Ban wrote.

Blake, Maturin, Goeman and Lakey all had something in common: cash and cars, according to court documents. Blake had recently won $20,000 at a casino and drove a Ford Mustang; Goeman "had recently come into a large sum of money from an inheritance" and was living in a newly purchased Dodge Durango with his son; and Maturin was known to carry large amounts of cash on him and had several different cars.

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In the most recently filed court documents, a witness told police he "had heard from others that Bradley had used a story about buried gold to lure ‘Emilio’ into the woods and murder him," documents filed earlier this month read. 

Maturin was driving a white BMW the day his girlfriend, Iliana, reported him missing in July 2019. He was also carrying drugs and about $15,000 in cash on him when he vanished.

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On the last day Iliana saw Maturin, Bradley came by their house with "a sketchy story for Emilio," King County Sheriff's Office Det. Aaron Thompson wrote in a probable cause affidavit.

Iliana heard Bradley tell Maturin he needed help digging up some buried gold in Auburn," Thompson wrote. "Iliana said Emilio was skeptical at first and wanted to know why Bradley was asking him. Bradley told him he was the only one he could trust. Emilio then left with Bradley and Iliana never saw or heard from him again."

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She used the "find my iPhone" function to track him and eventually wound up near the Muckleshoot Casino in Auburn. The feature showed that his iPhone had been turned off after he arrived at that location. When Iliana could not find Maturin, she left.

Less than 24 hours after Maturin disappeared, Auburn police arrested Bradley for driving Maturin's unregistered BMW.

"After a vehicle pursuit and then a foot pursuit the driver, later identified as Bradley, was taken into custody. No other persons were in the vehicle. In a statement to officers at the scene he identified the vehicle as belonging to his friend who had just purchased it," Thompson wrote.

The same witness who overheard Bradley's promises to Maturin also told investigators he was in a hotel room with Bradley and Blake, prior to her May 2021 disappearance, when he apparently heard Bradley tell Blake "about gold he had buried from a prior robbery."

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Another witness told detectives that before her disappearance, Blake "had confided in him that Bradley had asked for her help selling some ‘gold’ that he had hidden."

King County prosecutors earlier this month announced the additional charges against Bradley for the March 2021 shooting deaths of Goeman and Lakey.

Bradley was previously charged with arson and unlawful possession of a firearm in connection with their murders and considered a person of interest after he allegedly offered to pay someone $1,000 to burn their Durango. 

Bradley has previous convictions for second-degree robbery, vehicular assault, possession of an unregistered firearm, attempted residential burglary, and second-degree burglary between 1996 and 2016. He is also facing a series of pending charges, including solicitation to commit arson, first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of stolen property, identity theft, taking a motor vehicle without permission, attempting to elude, bail jumping and second-degree escape.

Bradley is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 8.

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