Auburn Police Department Patrol Officers were dispatched March 24th to the old Valley 6 Drive-In to the report of a body lying in the field. Through their investigation, officers identified the male as Silvano Ruiz-Perez. The King County Medical Examiner’s office determined that Ruiz-Perez died as a result of homicidal violence from a gunshot wound.
Investigators worked with Ruiz-Perez’s family trace back his last known whereabouts. His family last spoke with him in the early morning of March 23rd. Per the APD Certification for Determination of Probable Cause filed by Arneson, “[Ruiz-Perez] had gone to the bar at the Azteca restaurant in Kent and used an UBER to take him there. Family members later called and spoke with [Ruiz-Perez] around [1:00 am] on 3-23-19, and another ride was going to be called to bring him home. [Ruiz-Perez] however stopped answering his phone or text messages, so the ride was canceled.”
Through their investigation, APD detectives narrowed down possible suspects or suspect vehicles. One vehicle became of interest after it appeared in multiple surveillance footage at the approximate same times and locations as Ruiz-Perez’s phone. Investigators confirmed the driver’s identity as Abbas Zghair. The probable cause statement indicates that on April 13th Zghair was interviewed and confirmed “post-Miranda, that it was his vehicle and that he was driving the vehicle the night of the murder.”
King County Sherriff’s officers located the Zghair’s vehicle in Covington. It has been towed and is now pending service of a search warrant.
Zghair was stopped April 13th trying to enter Canada using false identification. He attempted to run from police when questioned. Zghair was arrested for criminal impersonation 1st degree and booked into the Whatcom County Jail, where he was subsequently questioned regarding the murder of Ruiz-Perez.
During his interview at the Whatcom County Jail, Zghair initially denied knowing anything about a murder. Arneson details in the probable cause statement that, post-miranda, Zghair inquired if they were “talking about the night he picked up the ‘Hispanic guy.’” As information about Ruiz-Perez had not yet been shared with Zghair, his inquiry showed prior knowledge of the murder.
“From [Zghair’s] story there would be no reason for him to link a homicide, that he says he was not involved in, to giving a random stranger a ride to a gas station in a neighboring city,” said Arneson in the probable cause statement.
During the interview, Zghair told investigators that Ruiz-Perez “contacted him at a gas station in Kent and asked for a ride. [Zghair] was reluctant but agreed for gas money that [Ruiz-Perez] was offering. He was taken to a Bank of America where he withdrew $100 in cash and was driven to another gas station in the valley of Kent or down the hill”.
[Zghair] said [Ruiz-Perez] wanted to get some cocaine and repeated this request over and over, but [Zghair] said he could not help him with that and ended up driving him back up to the east hill of Kent. There, [Ruiz-Perez] was dropped off an at unknown gas station. [Zghair] said he then drove his friends’ home and then he went home.”
Zghair repeatedly denied ever driving into Auburn that night. He was adamant that he only drove Ruiz-Perez to those two locations. Despite being shown evidence refuting this, Zghair continued to deny any involvement in Ruiz-Perez’s murder and per the probable cause statement he “repeated that he “wouldn’t kill anyone for no reason.” When asked what a reason would be that he would kill someone, [Zghair] would not answer.”
Zghair confirmed he owned the vehicle in the surveillance videos. He also confirmed he was the person driving the car. Per the probable cause statement “The videos and phone records, when compared, show [Zghair’s] vehicle [at] the same time and locations as [Ruiz-Perez’s] phone. This includes within an hour before the murder, the route to the murder location, the location and time frame of the murder and the following hours after the murder. [Zghair’s] vehicle was captured on traffic video entering the area of the homicide at the approximate date and time of the homicide and remaining there for about 6-7 minutes before leaving at a high rate of speed.”
Zghair was transferred to the King County Jail in Kent April 15th. He has been charged with Murder in the 2nd Degree.