The King County Prosecuting Attorneys’ Office on Jan. 19 formally charged an Auburn man with second-degree attempted kidnapping, three days after he allegedly tried to yank a woman through the drive-thru window at Beankini Espresso in north Auburn where she was working early on Monday morning, Jan. 16.
Auburn Police arrested Matthew William Darnell, 38, at his home in the 10000 block of Southeast 287th Street on Jan. 17.
Darnell is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 26 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. He remained Jan. 24 in the King County Correctional Facility in Seattle with bail set at $500,000, according to jail records.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Rhyan C. Anderson defined Darnell’s actions to court as “a deliberate and carefully-planned abduction attempt,” calculated to take place when it was still dark outside, and at a time where there were unlikely to be any other customers and very little pedestrian and vehicle traffic in the area.
Anderson noted the contrast between Darnell, who is 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 300 plus pounds. and his would-be-victim, who is 31 years old, 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighs about 110 pounds.
“He carefully chose a petite young woman who was working alone,” Anderson said, “wearing very little clothing, and with no means to protect herself. Further, the defendant was armed with a zip tie as a means of restraining his victim – a victim who was significantly smaller and 200 lbs less than the defendant…”
According to the APD’s Certification of Determination of Probable Cause, here is what happened.
At 5:06 a.m., a barista called 911 to report that a man had just tried to abduct her from her coffee stand at 2102 Auburn Way N., then drove away in a dark-colored truck.
According to the police narrative, the coffee stand’s external surveillance video shows a man extending his left hand out of the driver’s side window to hand the barista cash. As he does so, the video captures the image of a tattoo that extends along his entire forearm and appears to read “Chevrolet.”
According to the police narrative, when the barista puts her right hand out of the window to hand the man his change, he suddenly seizes her right wrist.
“[He] pulls her “violently towards him,” the police narrative says. “His body is now twisted as he extends [it] out of the open driver- door window. His right hand is then seen reaching out while holding what appears to be a closed, looped, black-colored ziptie,” with an opening about 10-12 inches in diameter.
“The suspect lurches out and appears to attempt to place the looped ziptie around the head of the victim as if to lasso her,” the narrative continues. “It just misses her head as she reacts and starts to pull back. [He loses] his grip on her right hand, allowing [her] to fall back into the stand. Once back, she quickly closes the window and moves out toward the cash register.”
Following the incident, the APD released information to the media, including the video and the image of the tattoo. And the public responded. Soon, the APD began receiving numerous tips about a possible suspect, with Matthew Darnell being the name most frequently mentioned.
According to the APD narrative, when police checked Darnell’s license, his picture appeared to resemble the barista’s description of the suspect’s face, and his state vehicle registration showed that he owned a 2019 Chevrolet Silverado truck, which, according to the narrative, had last been seen driving 1northbound on 104th Avenue Southeast about a mile north of the coffee stand.
On Jan. 17, detectives went to Darnell’s address and met him in his driveway. After officers read him his rights, according to the narrative, Darnell informed them he wanted to turn himself in. According to the narrative, Darnell’s face and hair and the tattoo on his left arm appeared to the officers to be an exact match to the suspect’s.
According to the narrative, Darnell then provided police voluntary consent to search his Chevrolet truck, which was in his driveway. When police searched the truck, according to the narrative, they found a black-colored ziptie about 10 inches in diameter under the front passenger seat, which appeared to match the size and width of the one seen on the video.Police also found an additional bundle of zip ties in Darnell’s bedroom.
According to court records, Auburn Police also obtained a search warrant for a forensic download of Darnell’s cell phone. At the time of this writing, however, that download had not yet been completed.
As Anderson told the court, “It still remains unknown what the defendant had planned to do with this young woman had he successfully zip-tied her and pulled her into his vehicle. However, the fact that he forcibly attempted to abduct a complete stranger warrants extreme alarm for the safety of the community.”
While Darnell has no known criminal history, Anderson noted, the premeditated nature of his “frightening offense” demonstrates the risk he poses to the community and to the victim.
If Darnell is able to post the $500,000 bail, Anderson said, he asked that the Court would require him to be on Electronic Home Detention with GPS monitoring. Anderson also asked the court to enter an order prohibiting Darnell from contacting the victim and the Beankini Espresso stand.