In a chilling revelation, Washington state prosecutors have charged Richard Bradley Jr., a 40-year-old man already awaiting trial for one murder, with three additional killings. The common thread linking these gruesome crimes is a sinister ploy – Bradley allegedly lured his victims by enticing them to help him dig up a buried treasure of stolen gold. Court documents suggest that the victims, driven by the promise of unimaginable wealth, were either carrying substantial amounts of cash or had recently come into money.
The saga began in May 2021 when Bradley was initially charged with first-degree murder in the death of 44-year-old Brandi Blake. Her body was discovered buried in a sprawling park in Auburn, Washington. Recent developments reveal that Bradley is now facing three more murder charges related to the shooting deaths of a father and son in May 2021 and the 2019 death of a man whose remains were found near Blake’s grave.
Senior Deputy Prosecutor Thomas O’Ban II outlined a chilling modus operandi in court documents, alleging that Bradley employed the same scheme in each case. The accused reportedly convinced his victims to assist in unearthing a hidden cache of stolen gold, leading them to secluded wooded areas where he allegedly executed them before stealing their vehicles and belongings.
One of the victims, Emilio Maturin, 36, vanished in July 2019 after Bradley purportedly enticed him with the buried gold ruse. Maturin’s girlfriend, who overheard the deadly proposition, revealed that despite initial skepticism, Maturin went along, carrying a substantial sum of $15,000 in cash. The girlfriend, tracing Maturin’s cellphone to Game Farm Park in Auburn, found an abandoned BMW but left in fear. Subsequently, Auburn police discovered the unregistered BMW near the park, leading to Bradley’s arrest after a car and foot chase.
In another tragic incident, Michael Goeman, 59, and his son Vance Lakey, 31, were shot to death in March 2021. Their bodies were found on an unmaintained road near the park. Goeman had recently inherited a significant sum, making them targets of Bradley’s alleged killing spree. Initially considered a person of interest, Bradley was charged with second-degree arson in May 2021 for attempting to destroy the victims’ impounded SUV. Recently, prosecutors added two counts of second-degree murder to his charges.
Bradley, currently held at the King County Correctional Facility on multiple charges including murder, arson, unlawful possession of a firearm, identity theft, and trafficking in stolen property, is set to stand trial next month for Brandi Blake’s death. As the investigation unfolds, the haunting question remains: how many more victims fell prey to Bradley’s macabre ploy before justice caught up with him?