PORT ORCHARD — A Gig Harbor man turned himself in to Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office detectives Thursday evening after admitting killing 19-year-old Tyrone R. “TJ” Sero of Port Orchard early Wednesday morning in South Kitsap.
The 19-year-old suspect was booked into jail on a first-degree murder charge. Another man, a 20-year-old South Kitsap man, also was arrested in connection with Sero’s death and booked into jail on a first-degree murder charge. Kitsap County Supreme Court records identified the 19-year-old as Kannon Anthony Stephens. The 20-year-old is Karlen Merle Talent. Both men are being held on $1 million bail.
Detectives investigating Sero’s disappearance reviewed surveillance video taken near Kitsap Community Resources, 3200 Rainshadow Court, near the intersection of Lund and Jackson, which they said confirmed that the man was last seen at about 12:40 a.m., Wednesday morning, getting into a silver Toyota 4Runner. The vehicle sped away from the parking lot, according to sheriff’s office detectives. After reviewing the video footage, detectives stated in a report that Sero “had been taken by force and was a victim of violence.”
They earlier had been made aware of a missing person’s report filed with the Port Orchard Police Department and contacted Sero’s family for additional information to aid their investigation. He was subsequently entered into national and statewide missing-person databases, KCSO said in a report released Thursday night.
After working closely with partner agencies in the region, sheriff’s office detectives said they quickly identified a person of interest. But prior to contacting this individual, the suspect turned himself in to KCSO detectives and admitted his involvement in Sero’s killing. Detectives said the suspect is cooperating in the investigation.
Sero’s family and friends had organized a search Wednesday in Matlock, where they indicated his cell phone had last pinged. His aunt, Lorie Waltrip said to FOX 13 News that, “We will find him and we will bring him home no matter what.”
A friend of Sero, Dianna Anderson, told the television outlet that the 5-foot-7 man always had his cell phone within reach. “He doesn’t leave his phone for anything,” she said. “He can’t get off the couch and walk across the room without his phone in his hand.”
Kitsap County Sheriff John Gese said in the Thursday report: “I am very thankful for the efforts of our Detectives and the partnership we share with the community and outside agencies that have been instrumental in this investigation. This is a tragic incident. Our investigators are working hard to identify those people responsible and hold them accountable.”
The law enforcement agency said an investigation into Sero’s murder is ongoing. Anyone with information about circumstances surrounding his death is asked to contact Detective Dave Meyer at DMeyer@co.kitsap.wa.us or 360-337-5617 or Detective Joe Hedstrom at JHedstro@co.kitsap.wa.us or 360-337-5615.
Note: An earlier version of this story included a misspelling of the victim’s name.