YAKIMA, Wash. — The skeletal remains of a body found in the trunk of a burned-out car near Sunnyside last week have been identified as the missing owner of the car.
Yakima County Coroner Jack Hawkins said dental records confirmed the remains were those of 22-year-old Preston Yahne, a 2009 Prosser High School graduate reported missing by family members June 16.
The remains were discovered by a tow truck driver June 18 after Yahne’s car, a Dodge sedan, was found abandoned near Emerald Road and South Emerald Road, south of Sunnyside.
Family members said Yahne recently returned to the area after a stint in the Air Force.
Hawkins said a forensic anthropologist in King County found no trauma to the skull and is still examining other bones found in the trunk for signs of violence.
Hawkins said he is classifying Yahne’s death as an undetermined but probable homicide.
The discovery of the remains was the first of three homicides in a five-day period in Yakima County.
Friday, the body of 23-year-old Alberto Gabriel Martinez of Sunnyside was found in the trunk of a car near U.S. Highway 97, south of Toppenish.
An autopsy determined Martinez died from multiple gunshot wounds to the head. Two people, a 20-year-old woman Martinez was supposed to meet with and her 22-year-old boyfriend, have been arrested in that case.
Saturday, the body of 20-year-old Pedro Marquez-Villa of Whatcom County was found in the 900 block of Washington Street, just outside the city limits of Toppenish.
Like Martinez, Marquez also died from multiple gunshot wounds to the head. No arrests have been announced.
The three homicides brings Yakima County’s total for the year to 10, not counting the March 8 fatal shooting of a Terrace Heights woman by her husband. That case remains under investigation.
• Chris Bristol can be reached at 509-577-7748 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ChrisJBristol.