Police: Blood found at crime scene belongs to 30-year-old man

Brandon Shane Zomalt - Courtesy image/Auburn Police
Brandon Shane Zomalt
— image credit: Courtesy image/Auburn Police

Authorities are continuing efforts to solve Auburn's bloody mystery.

Blood found at a crime scene along Peasley Canyon Drive more than two weeks ago belongs to a 30-year-old man, Auburn Police reported Friday.

The Washington State Patrol crime lab conducted DNA tests on the blood found on flooring and clothing items discovered Aug. 13 by an off-duty federal agent at the scene, near West Valley Highway, just inside the Auburn city limits. The DNA profile was run through the State Combined DNA Index System, matching it to the blood belonging to Brandon Shane Zomalt, authorities said.

No other profile has come back so far from the crime lab and investigation, authorities said.

Bone fragments also were found in the debris at the scene, according to Auburn Police Cmdr. Mike Hirman, suggesting a probable homicide.

"(The) injury was so severe that not only were there lots of blood, but portions of (the victim's) bones were there as well," Hirman said. "I can't even speculate on how the injury was caused."

Hirman said more information will become available as the investigation continues.

Police also said no one had reported Zomalt missing.

The victim, police said, has ties to Puyallup and surrounding areas based on Zomalt's criminal records.

According to records, Zomalt has a criminal history in Puyallup and Pierce County with 11 arrests involving harassment, threats to kill, assault in the first degree, reckless driving, obstruction of a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest and negligent driving.

Auburn Police are coordinating efforts with surrounding jurisdictions.

"The debris was dumped just inside the city limits, but we have found no other connection to Auburn," Hirman said. "So there's a good likelihood that this incident took place outside of our jurisdiction. If we can identify where this happened, then another agency will be heavily involved."

Auburn Police detectives and 15 members of King County's Search and Rescue Team cleared brush and scoured a second scene – a field near the intersection of South 277th Street and 55th Avenue South – two weeks ago. The search was launched off credible tips from citizens about suspicious activity that may be related to the bloody items found on Peasley Canyon Drive.

Hirman said it has been a challenging case.

"It's been very difficult so far because we didn't even know who our victim was. But now that we know who the victim is, we can charge ahead strongly and do a profile on this victim," he said.

On the afternoon of Aug. 13, an off-duty agent of the Federal Protective Service driving down Peasley Canyon Road noticed a fire in the woods and stopped with his extinguisher. The agent spotted a man burning blood-soaked carpeting, towels and flooring along the roadside.

Police said a man and a dark SUV were seen next to the carpeting. When the man saw the agent, he jumped in the SUV and fled. The officer tried to follow the man but he got away.

The suspect seen fleeing in the SUV is described as possibly a mixed race man, in his late 20s to early 30s, between 5-foot-8 and 5-foot-10, with a thin build and short dark hair.

Auburn Police are asking the public for help in identifying associates of Zomalt in hopes of determining his activities leading up to Aug. 13.

"We're trying to find out who knew him and who is associates are and the vehicles and residences he used," Hirman said.

The Auburn Police tip line is 253-288-7403.

– Staff writer Robert Whale contributed to this report.

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