Missing teen charged with murder blames victim's 'biker buddies' for burglary gone wrong, court docs say
PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. - Two 16-year-olds face murder and burglary charges as newly obtained court documents connect the well-publicized ‘disappearance’ of one of the suspects to the slaying of a 51-year-old Pierce County man.
That disappearance was a sham, according to investigators, who also say the teen – Gabriel Davies – was intimately familiar with the victim, Daniel McCaw: detectives learned that McCaw had previously been in a relationship with the Davies’ mother. As for a motive, the documents drop another bomb-shell allegation: Davies is claiming this all started with a threat from members of an "outlaw motorcycle club."
According to charging documents filed Tuesday by Pierce County prosecutors, at around 9:30 a.m. on Sept 1, deputies responded to a home near the corner of 190th St. E and 219th Ace. Ct. E. to do a welfare check. Deputies were told that Daniel McCaw had not shown up to work for four days.
When deputies got inside his house, they smelled what they thought was the odor of a decaying body. Deputies found an unsecured door into the laundry room and found McCaw dead with a gunshot wound.
Investigators said initially they thought the man could have died by suicide, but there was no firearm nearby so that could not have been the case.
According to the medical examiner's office, McCaw suffered a gunshot wound to the head and another to the torso. McCaw also had what appeared to be multiple stab wounds to the abdomen.
Detectives learned that the victim had previously been in a relationship with the mother of Gabriel Davies, a Thurston County boy who had been reported missing on Aug. 31.
Detectives discovered that Davies and a friend, Justin Jiwoon Yoon, had been camping with family and friends at Panther Lake in Mason County on Aug. 27 and 28. Shortly after midnight on the 28th, the two left and didn't return to the cabin until 6:30 a.m., documents said. The pair left Panther Lake again at 11:45 a.m. and did not return.
Surveillance footage from victim's home
According to documents, investigators obtained surveillance video from McCaw's home, and it showed two "young skinny males" arrive at 1:59 a.m. Video showed the suspects crawl through the dog door into the home. The victim left his detached garage at 2:41 a.m. and "stumbled" into the residence.
At 2:47 a.m., a dog suddenly ran out of the dog door, and one minute later both suspects left the home through the side door.
"The suspects ran back and forth to the garage before fleeing at approximately 2:52 a.m.," documents said. "Both suspects appeared to be carrying items, including a possible handgun."
Both suspects were wearing gloves and appeared to carry something away from the scene,
Detectives said they used Department of Licensing photos, and it appeared that the two suspects were Davies and Yoon.
Deputies got a search warrant for both Davies and Yoon's homes. They were each arrested at their homes around 8:00 p.m. on Sept. 2.
Detectives said Davies later showed them where he and Yoon disposed of two firearms they had stolen from the victim's home. The guns were found in a military style ammunition can and matched the two empty holsters found at the victim's residence.
Approached by ‘biker buddies’
According to court documents, earlier on Sept. 2, Davies' father contacted police and said "Gabe was involved in (the victim's) death."
"The father said that his son was approached by the victim's ‘biker buddies’ to steal something from the victim's residence. He further stated that they threatened his son with harm if he didn't do it. Gabriel Davies confided in Justin Yoon, and the two of them developed a ‘plot’ to steal the item out of the safe. On Saturday night or Sunday morning, the two went to the victim's house and snuck in through the doggy door. The father reported that his son knew where the victim's gun was kept, and said that ‘when the victim came into the house, Justin ran after him and stabbed him,’ and then stated that ‘then, Gabe heard a gunshot.’ He reported that his son told him that he went out to the garage to get the ‘item’ out of the safe when he heard a second gunshot. The father reported that his son told him the firearm used in the incident was ditched near his home."
Davies' father went on to say that his son told him: "that his son claimed the victim's ‘biker buddies’ who he said were members of a specific outlaw motorcycle club, followed him on Wednesday and pulled him out of his vehicle at the location on Tilley Road where his vehicle was found. Defendant Davies told his father that the blood in his truck was from bikers smashing his face against the interior of the car. They also reportedly put him in a Suburban and rove him around, roughing him up before releasing him. The father also said that the motorcycle club members took his shirt and shoes, and then purportedly went through his truck looking for whatever item had been stolen from the victim. Defendant Davies told his father that they never actually stole anything."
Yoon's father also contacted authorities and said he had information about "a crime in which Davies was involved."
Charged with murder, burglary
Davies and Yoon are charged in Pierce County Superior Court with:
- Murder in the first degree
- Murder in the second degree
- Burglary in the first degree
- Unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree
- Unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree (2nd count)
A judge set bail at $1 million for both. Their next court date is scheduled for Oct. 6.
FOX 13 News typically does not identify minors charged with crimes but did in this case because of the serious nature of the crimes and prior media coverage of Davies' disappearance.