YAKIMA, Wash.-- A Yakima man faces murder charges in connection with the deaths of two men last month. Ryan Pederson, 35, and Michael Eby, 37, were both found shot to death in an abandoned car in the Yakima River Canyon in December.
Until Thursday, local law enforcement had been pretty tight lipped about the double homicide investigation. But Wednesday night a break in the case led to an arrest of a Yakima man who, in court documents, admitted to being there when Michael Eby was murdered.
Troy Whalen, 41, made his first appearance in front of a Yakima County judge Thursday to face two counts of First Degree Murder for his part in the deaths of Pederson and Eby.
"There's speculation that it could be over drugs and money, but again, we're still trying to nail that piece down conclusively," said Capt. Rod Light with YPD.
Court documents paint a gruesome picture of the murders. Detectives found evidence of the slayings while serving an unrelated search warrant at Whalen's home.
While there, they found blood stains, and even bullets matching those used in the killings.
Also in those court papers, Whalen admitting he was there when Eby was killed inside his home. Shocking revelations to Whalen's brother who says he couldn't imagine his little brother being involved in something like this.
"I'm dumb founded. My little brother's never hurt anybody, never. I mean he's never been in a fight. And that's no lie," said Chuck Whalen.
Police say Eby's body was found in the trunk of the car, wrapped in plastic, and bound with tape and electrical wires.
Pederson was shot three times in the backseat of the car before a second suspect helped dump the vehicle near Roza Dam.
Whalen admits to helping wrap and get rid of the bodies but police don't believe he did the shooting.
"I don't know what to say, I really don't. All I can say is his family will be behind him, we'll support him," Whalen said.
Police are looking for a second man who they want to talk to. They're not calling him a suspect, but a person of interest.
Whalen is behind bars, his bail set at $2-million.
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