The body went unnoticed for a year. Now a father claims it was justice for his trafficked daughter: What happened to Andrew Sorensen?

John Eisenman is charged with the murder of his daughter’s boyfriend, Andrew Sorensen, whose body was found in an abandoned car nearly a year after he vanished in Washington state. Megan Sheets writes

Friday 05 November 2021 15:26
<p>Andrew Sorensen</p>

Andrew Sorensen

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The abandoned car had been parked near Dane Massie’s home in Northeast Spokane, Washington, for about four days when he and his friend decided to go check it out, hoping to learn why his dogs kept running over to it.

As they approached, the men were met by an overwhelming stench.

“It smelled like death,” Mr Massie told local news station KXLY.

They traced the odour to a body crammed in the trunk of the Honda Accord.

The body was identified as 19-year-old Andrew Sorensen, who police say had been left to rot in the car for nearly a year before Mr Massie’s discovery on 22 October.

John Eisenman, 60, was charged with Mr Sorensen’s murder on Friday. In a press release, Spokane Police said Mr Eisenman admitted to carrying out the killing in November 2020 after he claimed Mr Sorensen sold his daughter into sex trafficking.

The purported revenge killing struck a nerve nationwide, spurring a difficult discussion about how far a parent should go to protect their child.

The case also begs a perplexing question: Why did it take so long for Mr Sorensen’s body to be found?

The body discovery

Mr Massie told KXLY it wasn’t uncommon to see abandoned cars in his neighbourhood, so he initially paid no mind to the Honda on East Everett Street, which police have said was registered to Mr Eisenman’s fiancée Brenda Kross.

But after a few days he grew curious as his dogs kept running over to sniff the vehicle.

Along with the “terrible” smell, Mr Massie noticed the interior strewn with books and clothes, a hanging ignition and missing battery before his friend popped the trunk to find Mr Sorensen’s body. His wrists and ankles were bound together, mouth taped shut and clothing was studded with puncture wounds.

Police said the car had been driven to Northeast Spokane earlier in October by a third party who is not believed to have known there was a body in the trunk.

Prior to that, the car had sat in a remote area of North Spokane County for about 11 months.

Man who discovered body of 19-year-old in abandoned car speaks out

Mr Eisenman’s “confession”

After his arrest, Mr Eisenman allegedly told police he learned his teenage daughter had been sold to a sex-trafficking ring in the Seattle area in October 2020. He said he was able to “rescue” her and bring her back home.

Police said Mr Eisenman “obtained information” that his daughter’s boyfriend, Mr Sorensen, was responsible for her sale and tracked him to a trailer park in Airway Heights, Washington, in November 2020.

There, police said, Mr Eisenman “abducted” Mr Sorensen by tying him up and placing him in the trunk of the car. He then allegedly killed Mr Sorensen by striking him on the head with a cinder block and stabbing him repeatedly.

After the alleged killing, Mr Eisenman ditched the car in North Spokane County, where it remained until last month, police said.

Mr Sorensen was reported missing on 1 November 2020, according to a release from the Spokane Sheriff’s office. A search was conducted in areas he was known to frequent, but the case quickly went cold.

His family continued to plead for the public’s help in finding him until his body was discovered almost a week before the anniversary of his disappearance.

Tracking down the killer

Officers responding to a 911 call from Mr Massie’s girlfriend on 22 October tried to contact the car’s registered owner, Ms Kross, but their calls went unanswered.

When officers arrived at Ms Kross’ home to question her, Mr Eisenman answered the door and claimed the car had been stolen about a year earlier. Ms Kross then told investigators about how she and Mr Eisenman had saved his daughter from a sex trafficking ring.

A few days later, police received a tip from a neighbour who said Mr Eisenman had confessed to killing someone and putting the body in a car. Police said the neighbour’s account of what Mr Eisenman allegedly said matched details about Mr Sorensen’s body that only someone involved would have known.

Mr Eisenman was taken into custody on a first-degree murder charge on 29 October and subsequently confessed, police said.

He appeared in Spokane County District Court on Monday, where his bail was set at $1m.

John Eisenman is pictured at a court hearing on 1 November

Defence of Mr Eisenman

Following Mr Eisenman’s arrest, his stepdaughter Ashleye Kross launched a fundraising campaign on GiveSendGo to help cover his legal bills.

“This father did the unthinkable for some of us to save his little girl from an unspeakable life that causes long term scars and years of emotional damage,” the campaign description states.

“He did what most of us as parents would do or think about doing in a situation like this. He does not belong in jail, prior to this he had no violent offenses.

“Many are calling him a hero and I for one agree, I would like to do all we can as a community to help him be a free man and have his day in court to defend his honor and the honor of his daughter.”

The campaign has raised nearly $10,200 toward its $100,000 goal as of Wednesday morning.

This story has been updated to match the spelling of Andrew Sorensen’s surname in court documents.

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