A day at the beach turned into horror for a group of Seattle teenagers
On June 5th of 2020, a group of Seattle friends, two girls and boy, TikTok User @UghHenry were playing a game of “randonauting,” which sent them on a mission to Alkai Beach
In case you aren’t familiar, “randonauting” is played by taking an automatized generator called-you guessed it-Randonautica, which then comes up with nearby travel coordinates for users to go explore.
In fact, the founder of “randonauting”, Joashua Lengfelder described the game to Wired Magazine by stating:
“There are two main parts to randonauting…Exploring blindspots or places nearby that are outside of your conscious awareness, and experimenting with mind-machine interaction; the hypothesis that consciousness can influence the distribution of random numbers.”
In short, it’s a fun way to spend the afternoon on a silly little excursion, especially during a time that’s largely kept us inside and afraid.
But for the aforementioned adventurous Seattle teens, who uploaded the video of their discovery after the fact, fun soon gave way to fear and horror.
As the video begins, black captions in white boxes are superimposed across the screen as we watch the group, in real time, approach a black carry-on suitcase lying upon a couple of rocks on the beach the app had directed them to. The teenagers keep filming throughout their discovery as they initially joke and precariously climb down rocks towards the black bag.
Above them, some beachgoers are filmed looking down, half smiling, from a pier.
“Randonaut sent us to this part of the beach…and we found this black suitcase,” reads the first caption.
TW: Distressing content
As one girl makes her way closet to the carry-on, a second caption reads how the group was joking that it might contain money. In the background, one of her friends starts asking her to open it but the closer she got to it, the more she began recoiled back: it reeked.
Using a washed-up branch, we watch as one girl from the group peels back the covering to reveal-something-tightly wrapped in multiple garbage bags. At this point, the smell was overwhelming for the teenagers, who hypothesized that it was either a case of rotten food, such as spoiled meat, or a case full of bodies parts. Immediately, another girl, looking obviously frightened, in the group whipped out her phone to call the police.
At no point did anyone in the group attempt to open the sealant within the suitcase.
The video, which the boy, @UghHenry, would later post to TikTok, ends as police cars roll up.
But the story was just beginning.
Shortly after the police arrived at the scene, they opened the garbage bag wrapping, discovering what the group of teenagers had feared: it contained human remains.
The teenagers themselves, extremely freaked, had left the beach by that time and only discovered that their theory was correct during the evening news.
Eventually, the investigation by the police revealed that the bodies were a couple, Jessica Lewis, 35, and Austin Wenner, 27.
Jessica, a mother of four, worked in an assisted living home, helping developmentally challenged adults. She and Wenner were a committed, loving, and well loved couple who had been in a relationship of about 8 years.
After an investigation by the Seattle police that ran about two months, their landlord, Michael Lee Dudley, was arrested at his home for murdering the young couple via gunshot. Though he has yet to give a reason for his motives, his bail has been set at $5 million and he’s been booked into Seattle’s King County Jail.
All in all, this is a tragic story on many levels, not in the least because a young and vibrant couple lost their lives for no good reason.
However, the teenagers in the video did the right and responsible thing: immediately alerted by the smell, they contacted the police rather than trying to have their own “Logan Paul-esque” investigation of the crime scene to increase their online viewership.
And though the boy who posted what should have been a fun day out with friends later admitted to being traumatized by the ordeal, the group, however inadvertently, were able to bring the couple back to their own families and friends, who must have appreciated the closure, even if they had longed for a far better outcome.