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Washington state teen missing under suspicious circumstances is found, then arrested in murder case

Investigators requested the public's assistance in locating the 16-year-old, who disappeared Thursday.

A 16-year-old boy who disappeared "under suspicious circumstances" has been found — and was then arrested in connection with the murder of a 51-year-old man, police said.

Investigators in Thurston County, Washington, had requested the public's help finding the teenager Thursday after he went missing.

The 16-year-old's truck was found abandoned in Olympia with small amounts of blood in it, items scattered around and his shattered cellphone nearby, NBC affiliate KING of Seattle reported. The teen was last seen leaving his home Thursday afternoon to attend football practice but never made it.

He was found safe at 10 p.m. and returned to his family, the Thurston County Sheriff's Office said.

The same morning, Pierce County sheriff's deputies conducted a welfare check at a home in Orting after they were told a 51-year-old man "had not shown up for work for 4 days," according to a news release.

Pierce County deputies respond to a welfare check Thursday in Orting, Wash.
Pierce County deputies respond to a welfare check Thursday in Orting, Wash. Pierce County Sheriff's Department

Deputies found the man dead inside his home with a gunshot wound and no firearm nearby.

After they processed the scene for evidence, detectives arrested two 16-year-old suspects in connection with the murder Friday night, one of them being the 16-year-old who had gone missing.

Police would not comment on what evidence they found that led them to tie the teenagers to the murder.

"Both males were booked into Remann Hall Juvenile Detention Center for Murder in the 2nd Degree, Burglary in the 1st Degree, and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm," the Pierce County Sheriff's Department said.

As part of a state law that passed in January, authorities cannot interview the minors unless their attorneys are present, Pierce County Sheriff’s Sgt. Darren Moss said. It is not known whether the suspects have attorneys.

The suspects are scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday, Moss told NBC News. The Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office will determine whether and what charges will be filed.