Tacoma – A 23-year-old Renton, Washington, man made his first appearance today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma on a charge of second degree murder for the February beating death of a 21-year-old woman, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. The victim, a resident of California, had traveled to the Seattle area to meet up with ALEJANDRO J. AGUILERA ROJAS. The two traveled to the Sequim, Washington, area on February 10, 2020.
“I commend the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI for their quick and thorough work on this case,” said U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. “The victim’s family has lost their loved one forever, and we will work hard to ensure that the defendant is held accountable for taking her life.”
According to the criminal complaint, AGUILERA ROJAS was having a relationship with the victim–a relationship hidden from his wife and family. The victim had traveled to Seattle to visit AGUILERA ROJAS. The victim’s friends and family members reached out to AGUILERA ROJAS, who gave them conflicting information about the victim’s whereabouts. A friend of the victim reported her missing to law enforcement when she did not contact them after February 10, 2020. The victim’s body was found off a logging road in Olympic National Forest on February 14, 2020. There were signs she had been beaten and stabbed. A broken and bloody tequila bottle, box cutter, and knife were located near where the victim’s body was discovered. There was no identification on the body.
Law enforcement reviewed surveillance video at a Sequim convenience store and determined a woman and a man, later identified as AGUILERA ROJAS, had visited the store. Law enforcement was able to determine that AGUILERA ROJAS’ cell phone and the victim’s phone had been in the area of the murder on February 10 and 11 and that both phones had then travelled back to the area of AGUILERA ROJAS’ residence, after the victim had been killed and left in the Olympic National Forest.
The autopsy of the victim by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the manner of death as a homicide and the cause of death by multiple blunt and sharp force injuries.
AGUILERA ROJAS was interviewed by law enforcement on February 19, 2020. He made a number of different statements about his relationship with the victim and what had happened. AGUILERA ROJAS was booked into Clallam County Corrections where he remained until being taken into federal custody. Because the murder occurred on federal land in the Olympic National Forest, the case is being prosecuted in federal court.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, with significant assistance from the Washington State Patrol.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ye-Ting Woo and Rebecca S. Cohen.