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Teen allegedly beats father to death with cane

  • Rylan Salzman, 16, allegedly beat his father to death with a cane and hid his body in a wooden box
  • Medical examiner said the victim was so badly beaten that dental records had to be used to positively identify him
Teen allegedly beats father to death with cane

A 16-year-old Washington state boy is accused of beating his father to death with a cane and hiding his body in a wooden storage box at their Tacoma home.

Rylan Salzman was charged June 13 with second degree murder in the death of his father, 49-year-old Richard Salzman.

Police say the boy was home drinking with his father on the night of June 6 when he overheard a heated phone argument between his parents. The boy’s mother was at her brother’s house celebrating her niece’s graduation at the time.

Apparently upset by the way his father was speaking to his mother, police say Salzman confronted his father and a fight ensued.

"During the confrontation, the defendant picked up a cane and hit the victim in the head with it several times, killing him," the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney's Office said in a news release.

Salzman allegedly dragged his father’s body to a wooden storage box located in the family’s yard, put the body inside, and covered it with kitty litter, according to a probable cause statement. The alleged murder weapon was located inside the box, police said.

After allegedly concealing his father’s body, police say Salzman called his mother and told her that his father left their home just after midnight on his bicycle. The boy then picked up his mother from the party and drove her home.    

Richard Salzman was reported missing by his wife later that day.

A few days later, Salzman’s mother told police that her son became nervous when she mentioned she was going to employ a search and rescue team to assist in locating her husband, documents say. 

"The defendant replied, 'Wait! Wait, don’t call yet,'" prosecutors said in the news release.

Eventually, police say Salzman admitted to his mother that his father did not leave their home on his bike the night he was last seen. Salzman allegedly confessed to his mother that he killed his father and hid his remains in the yard.

The boy’s mother then urged her son to call 911 and confess to the murder, documents say.

“I'm calling to confess to a killing,” Salzman told a 911 operator, according to audio obtained by CNN affiliate KIRO-TV. “He’s outside in a container of sorts.” 

“I had a cane in my hand at the time. I needed, I promise it wasn't premeditated or anything, but I had been drinking and I started swinging,” Salzman told the operator. 

Salzman was arrested without incident when police arrived at the scene. 

A medical examiner said the victim was so badly beaten that dental records had to be used to positively identify him, according to a probable cause statement.  

However, according to court documents, Salzman told police he only struck his father once in the head before he dropped to the ground, dead.

“This is a strange case of patricide,” said prosecutor Mark Lindquist said in the news release. “The motives are still being investigated.”

Salzman is being held at the Pierce County Jail on a $1 million bond. He has pleaded not guilty.

HLN reached out to Salzman's attorneys for a comment, but calls were not returned. 

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