4 Dead After Promises of Buried Treasure

SEATTLE, Washington — A man awaiting trial for one murder has now been charged with three additional killings as authorities allege that he lured all four victims by promising buried treasure. Richard Bradley Jr., 40, was originally charged in May 2021 with the first-degree murder of 44-year-old Brandi Blake. However, in the past two weeks, prosecutors have filed three more murder charges against Bradley, linking him to the deaths of a father and son in 2021 and a man whose remains were found near Blake’s grave in 2019.

According to court documents, Bradley would approach his victims after they had come into money and convince them to help him dig up stolen gold. He would then lead them to a wooded area, kill them, and steal their possessions, including their vehicles. Senior Deputy Prosecutor Thomas O’Ban II asserts that Bradley employed the same scheme in each of the murders.

One of the victims, Emilio Maturin, 36, was last seen alive in July 2019. His girlfriend reported him missing after two weeks. She told detectives that she overheard Bradley asking Maturin for help in digging up buried treasure. Maturin went along and took a significant amount of cash with him, according to court documents. His girlfriend was able to track his cellphone to a park in Auburn, where she found Bradley’s unregistered BMW parked. When police attempted to stop the driver, Bradley led them on a car and foot chase, ultimately resulting in his arrest on charges of eluding the police.

The bodies of Michael Goeman, 59, and his son Vance Lakey, 31, were discovered near the park in March 2021. Court documents reveal that Goeman had received a substantial inheritance shortly before their deaths. Bradley was already considered a person of interest in their killings and was charged with second-degree arson after it was alleged that he offered someone $1,000 to set fire to the father and son’s SUV. Prosecutors have now added two counts of second-degree murder to the charges against him.

The fourth victim, Brandi Blake, disappeared in early May 2021. She had won $20,000 at a casino and, like Maturin, was known to carry large sums of cash. Investigators found her body buried in a shallow grave at the same park where the other bodies were discovered.

Richard Bradley Jr. is set to go on trial next month for the murder of Brandi Blake. He now faces a total of two counts of premeditated first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder, and second-degree arson.