In the latest turn of events concerning the disappearance of a Bonney Lake teenager, a suspect attempted to commit suicide in his cell last week.
According to the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office, Christopher Fitzpatrick, 39, was charged May 29 with kidnapping in the first degree with sexual motivation, promoting the sexual abuse of a minor, and multiple charges for rape of a child in the third degree against Lily Christopherson, 15, among other drug charges and sexual offenses.
Just a few hours after his arraignment, Fitzpatrick tried to hang himself from the shower door at the Pierce County Jail. Sheriff’s Department spokesman Detective Ed Troyer said in a release a corrections officer stopped Fitzpatrick, who was taken to a hospital.
He is expected to recover and stand trial in July.
Christopherson has yet to be found by officers, though they’ve received tips that she is in the Tacoma area.
Since her disappearance on May 9, the Bonney Lake Police Department and other law enforcement agencies have been able to piece together what’s happened over the last month.
According to court documents, Christopherson was on probation for possessing alcohol, as well as was suspended from her school for drug possession. She’s also run away from home in the past, but had always returned shortly afterward, and the incidents were never reported to police.
Christopherson’s mother believed her daughter allegedly met with another minor, Alex Thueringer, who was picked up May 20 by Everett police. Thueringer told the BLPD he met up with Christopherson in the early hours of that Wednesday morning before walking to Enumclaw and taking a bus to Federal Way.
According to Thueringer, the two met up with two suspects — Fitzpatrick and a woman later identified as Maria Counts, 29, who has also been arrested and charged — at the Federal Way Transit Center before going to Fitzpatrick and Counts’ RV and then to an apartment occupied by two other men.
At this point, Thueringer left the group, though it remains unclear why he left, as different witnesses have given conflicting testimonies.
After positively identifying Fitzpatrick as the man who met Thueringer and Christopherson in Federal Way, officers attempted to locate him at the RV and several other locations, including Olympia.
A former partner and mother of Fitzpatrick’s children told police on May 24 she had recently been in contact with him and told police he was staying in a trailer near Millersyvania State Park, near Tenino, and added Fitzpatrick “is violent sexually and that his ‘thing’ is keeping young girls drugged and to ‘pimp’ them out of hotels,” court documents read.
Officers eventually found the trailer and discovered evidence Christopherson was there, but neither she nor Fitzpatrick were present.
Also on May 24, police were able to identify and follow Counts at a motel in Tumwater.
She was taken into custody and told Bonney Lake officers she left Fitzpatrick because “he was more interested in Christopherson than in her,” court documents read.
Counts claimed she didn’t know Christopherson was underage, though several times referred to her as 17 years old.
Counts agreed to let officers search her phone, and they found messages allegedly confirming Fitzpatrick and Counts were promoting sex with Christopherson. Officers also found sexually explicit photos of Christopherson on Counts’ phone.
On May 26, officers learned Fitzpatrick was in a residence in Lakewood, Washington. Christopherson was not there, but officers found a cell phone that was broken and “strewn around in pieces,” court documents read.
Fitzpatrick was convicted of third degree assault with sexual motivation in 2004, and was also wanted for violating his probation and failing to register as a sex offender, a U.S. Marshall Service press release stated.
Fitzpatrick is held on a $2 million bail; Counts is held on a $500,000 bail.