Moments before a 16-year-old boy was found unresponsive in a Lakewood swamp Dec. 2, he and four others were riding in a Kia Sportage with ignition damage and at least three guns in their possession, court records filed this week show.
Nicholas Woody II and the others, including a 14-year-old boy, bailed out of the car on Woodlawn Avenue Southwest and ran north into a swamp to avoid Lakewood police at about 10 p.m. Police tried to stop the Kia after receiving reports that it was stolen, the records show.
Officers determined that a USB cord was used to start the car, Pierce County prosecutors wrote Wednesday in documents charging a 17-year-old with unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle. The 14-year-old was charged with second-degree taking a motor vehicle without permission and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, court records show.
The teens were ordered held at Remann Hall, the Pierce County juvenile detention facility, according to a Pierce County Prosecutor's Office spokesman.
Police have declined to release their reports on the incident, telling The News Tribune that Woody's death remains under investigation, but the court records shed more light on the events that night.
After the people in the car ran into the marshy area, officers shouted for the five to come out, saying the water was extremely cold and dangerous. Officers said they went in, but the uneven terrain, varying water levels and cold temperature made them retreat, court records show.
Two of the teens, the 14-year-old and 17-year-old, later ran out of the swamp and jumped a fence behind Lochburn Middle School. They were caught and arrested, charging documents show.
Woody was seen about 40 feet out in the water. Police said they tried to coax him out of the swamp, but he refused. When officers went in to try to retrieve him, Woody disappeared from sight. His body was later discovered submerged in three feet of water, according to a Lakewood Police Department news release.
Woody was declared deceased at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma, court records show.
Lakewood police mentioned the "Kia Boyz" in police reports, court records show, referencing a national trend where teenagers steal cars, sometimes at gunpoint.
The report said "based on the current 'Kia Boys' trend around the country, it would be unreasonable for any person to believe the vehicle was not stolen based off of this very visible damage to the ignition/steering column," charging documents show.
The two other people in the car that night, including one adult, remain at large.
Woody's cause and manner of death are pending, according to the Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office.