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Washington state teens sentenced to 12 years following staged disappearance, murder plot
Washington state teens sentenced to 12 years following staged disappearance, murder plot
Washington state teens sentenced to 12 years following staged disappearance, murder plot

Published on: 11/04/2023


PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. (KOMO) — Two Washington state teenagers will spend 12 years in prison for the killing of a man in September 2022.

Gabriel Davies, 17, and Justin Yoon, 17, had both pleaded guilty in adult court to the murder of Daniel McCaw, 51.

Davies and Yoon agreed to a sentencing recommendation of 123 months. A judge then added 27 months to their sentences, for a total of 150 months behind bars.

According to court papers, it took four days before McCaw's body was discovered in his home. During that period, authorities said that Davies, then 16 years old, staged his disappearance to make it seem like he had been the victim of a crime. He was reported missing when he left his home in Olympia to attend football practice at Olympia High School and never showed up. His car was then found near Tenino.

Deputies said they found items thrown around inside the vehicle and even noticed blood. They also found his phone shattered outside the vehicle.

Two days later, Davies was found safe after an extensive search throughout Thurston County. During his disappearance, Detectives learned that McCaw had previously been in a relationship with Davies' mother. Within 24 hours, he was arrested for McCaw's murder, along with Yoon, who was also 16 years old at the time.

On Sept. 1, 2022, Pierce County deputies found McCaw's body following a welfare check at McCaw's home in Orting. Co-workers reported that McCaw hadn't reported to work in four days and wasn't answering any of his calls or text messages. Upon entering the home, deputies said they smelled what seemed to be the odor of a decomposing body. They also said they saw a German shepherd around McCaw's property. They then found McCaw's body in the home's laundry room.

It was later determined that McCaw died after being shot and stabbed. Detectives then turned to footage from McCaw's home security system and identified Davies and Yoon entering the victim's home through a dog door on Aug. 28, 2022.

According to detectives, Davies and Yoon went camping at Panther Lake with friends and family between Aug. 27 and 28, 2022. Family said the two left a cabin on Aug. 28 shortly after midnight and returned around 6:30 a.m. They left again shortly before noon that day and did not return.

Davies was then reported missing on Aug. 31, according to charging documents.

According to court papers, Davies initially told detectives he couldn’t remember where he’d been during his disappearance and “admitted to damaging his cell phone because he was afraid that the police were going to find what was on it.”

On Sept. 2, 2022, Davies’ father called the lead detective with Thurston County, saying, “Gabe was involved in (the victim’s) death.” According to Davies’ father, Davies was approached by “biker buddies” of McCaw, threatening Davies to steal something from the victim’s home.

Davies and Yoon then developed a plan to steal the item from McCaw’s safe, according to Davies' father. The father then told authorities that the two snuck into the home through a dog door, as seen on surveillance footage.

Prosecutors said there was never any evidence to suggest Davies had ever had any interaction with biker gangs. They said Davies fabricated the story to absolve himself of pre-meditated murder charges.

Both teens were arrested without incident and led investigators to where they had allegedly disposed of two firearms they stole from McCaw's house. Both were charged as adults with first- and second-degree murder, first-degree burglary, and two counts of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

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