TACOMA, WA – Today Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged Rylan Salzman, 16, with murder in the second degree for beating his father, Richard Salzman, 49, to death with a cane at their Tacoma home. The defendant is scheduled to be arraigned today at 1:30 p.m. in room 270 of the County-City Building in Tacoma.
On June 6, 2014, the defendant’s mother left the family’s home to attend a graduation party. The victim called her while she was at the party, and the couple argued. The defendant, who was at home drinking with the victim, overheard the argument between his parents. He was apparently upset that his father was yelling at his mother, so he confronted him. During the confrontation, the defendant picked up a cane and hit the victim in the head with it several times, killing him. The defendant dragged his father’s body to a wooden storage box in the family’s yard and put him inside. The defendant covered the body with cat litter, oil and dirt, and put the cane, a flashlight and a bicycle in the box as well. He called his mother and told her the victim left the house on his bicycle. The defendant then drove to the party and brought his mother home.
“This is a strange case of patricide,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “The motives are still being investigated.”
The mother reported the victim missing the following day because he had not returned home. The defendant told his mother not to make any more phone calls or have anyone over to the house. On June 10, the defendant’s mother told him she was going to employ a search and rescue team to assist in locating her husband. The defendant replied, “Wait! Wait, don’t call yet.” Then he told his mother that he killed his father and put him in the wooden box. His mother told him he needed to call the police, so the defendant dialed 911 and confessed.
When police arrived, they arrested the defendant. After a short search, police located the wooden box and found the victim inside. The medical examiner determined the victim died of blunt force trauma to the head. The victim was so badly beaten that dental records had to be used to positively identify him.
Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Communications and Public Information Coordinator
Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office