Austin Wenner and Jessica Lewis: How Did They Die? Who Killed Them?

In June 2020, teenagers near Alki Beach in Seattle, Washington, discovered a suitcase and a duffle bag emitting a foul odor. They called the police and took TikTok videos, quickly spreading the news that human remains were found inside the bags. These remains were identified as Austin Wenner and Jessica Lewis. Netflix’s ‘Worst Roommate Ever’ episode titled ‘The Lethal Landlord’ details the events leading to the couple’s deaths and the apprehension of the perpetrator.

Austin and Jessica Went Missing After Moving Into a New Home

Austin Wenner was the eldest son of Charleen Kriens, who described him as an athletic and cheerful young man who was always fun to be around. He had a bright future ahead of him, but during high school, he developed a dependency on drugs. This issue reportedly caused him to become distant from his family, meeting them only occasionally. Despite multiple attempts to quit, the problem persisted. In 2014, he met Jessica Lewis, and they quickly grew close. As per reports, she also had a history of drug dependency in her family. Regardless of their fulfilling time together, Austin and Jessica found it difficult to quit their habits when in each other’s company.

Austin introduced Jessica to his family, who noticed she made him happier. Friends attested that they seemed destined to spend the rest of their lives together. In early 2020, Austin and Jessica lost the home that they were residing in and had to take to the streets to sustain themselves. When Austin’s aunt learned about their situation, she offered a solution. She had lived in a trailer owned by Michael Dudley, known for being helpful and kind. Upon arriving at Michael’s house, Austin and Jessica seized the opportunity and were informed that he had two spare rooms that he usually rented out. They could take one of them. The couple settled comfortably in the house and found some stability.

Filming of A TikTok Video Led to the Discovery of Austin and Jessica’s Remains

Although Austin and Jessica were known for not frequently contacting their families, they occasionally checked in. Austin’s mother had been trying to reach him since early June 2020. She noted that this had happened before, as he used to sell his phone for some quick money, but when Jessica also didn’t answer her phone, she grew worried. On June 19, 2020, some teenagers found human remains in a bag at Alki Beach in Seattle, Washington, and these were identified as Austin and Jessica. A few days later, the police discovered another identical bag containing more remains, which also matched the couple.

The autopsy report revealed that Austin and Jessica had been killed on June 9, 2020. Jessica had been shot four times in the torso, which caused her death. Since Austin’s entire body was never recovered, the cause of his death could not be determined, but the police concluded it was likely similar, if not identical, to that of his girlfriend. The news of the gruesome murder quickly spread on social media, prompting a rigorous homicide investigation.

Austin and Jessica’s Killer Also Harmed Animals

The police knew the location where the bodies of Austin Wenner and Jessica Lewis were found was not where they had been killed. They began interviewing those close to the couple with no other evidence to guide them. Soon, Michael Dudley’s name started coming up frequently in their interviews. A friend of the victims mentioned that weeks before their deaths, Austin had told him that if anything happened to him, they should look at Dudley. His mother also said that he had confided in her that his landlord once made him kill a puppy, and he felt something was wrong in the house. The police went to Dudley’s house, where another tenant had already moved into the room previously occupied by Austin and Jessica.

The tenant, a sex worker, reported that when she arrived, clothes of all kinds were spread all over the floor. One night, she even saw a hand emerging from the pile of clothes. She also noticed bullet holes in the furniture and walls of her room but was too afraid to ask any questions. The police inquired with the neighbors, who said that on June 9, they had heard someone pleading and shouting from the house, followed by gunshots. They had called 911, but when the police arrived, no one answered the door, and with no evidence of foul play, the police had left.

When the police spoke to Dudley, he denied involvement in the crime. He concocted an elaborate story, claiming he had no idea where Austin or Jessica were and suggesting they were involved in transactions with the mafia. On being questioned about the bullet marks in his house, he claimed he was known to carry weapons and that a gun had accidentally discharged inside the home. However, the police had enough evidence against him to make an arrest. He was charged with four counts of second-degree murder and was subsequently convicted of the crimes.

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