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Prosecutors charge Burien man with killing ex-wife in Kent

King County prosecutors filed a second-degree murder charge against a Burien man in connection with the stabbing death Sunday of his former wife at a Kent Park & Ride lot.

Telesforo Hernandez-Roa, 41, is scheduled to be arraigned on Aug. 4 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. He is in the county jail in Seattle with bail set at $2 million, according to jail records.

Ruth Castillo-Yanez, 39, of Federal Way died from multiple stab wounds, according to the King County Medical Examiner's Office. Kent Police found her dead Sunday night in the backseat of her red Nissan Pathfinder parked in the lot in the 23400 block of Military Road South.

"The defendant poses a substantial likelihood of danger to the community," Scott A. O'Toole, senior deputy prosecuting attorney, wrote in charging papers in requesting the high bail. "The defendant's actions - brutally and viciously attacking the victim and inflicting at least 25 stab wounds - demonstrate the extreme danger he poses."

O'Toole said Hernandez-Roa also poses a flight risk because it is believe he was born in Mexico and his immigration status is unknown. If convicted, he faces a minimum of 12-plus to 20-plus years in prison, giving him further reason to flee.

Seattle Police contacted Kent Police after Hernandez-Roa told Seattle Police officers on Sunday that he had an altercation with his wife. When asked if she were hurt, he reportedly responded "I think she is dead," according to court documents. He told them where to find the body.

Hernandez-Roa told Seattle Police he had learned Castillo-Yanez was cheating on him and the man she was dating had recently sent naked photos of her to him. Police took Hernandez-Roa into custody after finding the body. He refused to answer any questions and asked for an attorney.

Detectives searched Hernandez-Roa's vehicle and found a dress shirt and white T-shirt with a significant amount of blood on them. Police also found a man's wristwatch and wedding ring with blood on them.

The victim's daughter told police that her mother and Hernandez-Roa were last seen going to dinner at about 4:50 p.m. on Sunday. She said they commonly met at the Kent Des Moines Park & Ride lot. A sister of Castillo-Yanez received a call at about 5 p.m. indicating that she and the suspect were arguing and not getting along, according to charging papers.

Another daughter of Castillo-Yanez received a call from her mom at about 8:02 p.m. She said her mother's voice sounded stressed and she was on the verge of crying throughout the conversation. She suspected her mom was with Hernandez-Roa but she said her mother was evasive about whether she was with him or where she was.

That was the last anyone heard from Castillo-Yanez.

An uncle of Hernanez-Roa told detectives that his nephew left their home at about 1 p.m. on Sunday to go to church and never returned home.

An autopsy showed that Castillo-Yanez had wounds on her left forearm and left and right fingers which were consistent with defensive injuries.


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