The father of the 19-year-old man who is accused of killing 6-year-old Dayvid Pakko and leaving his body in a dumpster in Lynnwood, Washington, spoke from Texas on Tuesday.
Randy Henckel said he is grieving the death of his grandson, Dayvid, and trying to make sense of the arrest of his son, Andrew Henckel, in connection with it.
Andrew Henckel, who was visiting from Texas, is Dayvid's uncle.
Randy Henckel described his son as a gentle giant who is more than 6 feet tall, weighs 200 pounds and has been diagnosed with autism. Randy Henckel said his son’s place on the autism spectrum leans toward Asperger’s syndrome.
"He's extremely mild,” Randy Henckel said. “He's introverted. He's everything aside from the Asperger's. He's been a perfect child.”
He said his son, the only suspect in Dayvid's death, has never been in trouble with the law and probably has no understanding of the legal process.
"My viewpoint on this is (that) they probably did Mirandize him, but he wouldn’t have any context for that," Randy Henckel said.
A frantic search for Dayvid was launched Monday night after the 6-year-old, who was also described as having mild autism, disappeared while he was under Andrew Henckel’s care, police said.
Teams of people fanned out near Dayid’s home, near Lynnwood. His body was found Tuesday morning in a dumpster just feet from where he lived. Andrew Henckel was taken into custody, questioned and later arrested.
Since his son’s arrest, Randy Henckel said he’s had only limited access to his son.
“My daughter, Andrew's sister, out of Austin, Texas, is up there right now,” he said. “She's not allowed to see him, and she's physically there.”
Randy Henckel believes his son can't fully understand what is happening and that his condition may make him more compliant and willing to answer questions.
“I told the detective last night, while they were still searching for my grandson, that he was autistic. And they said, 'We get that and we'll handle him with special care,'” Randy Henckel said. “Special care does not include not letting family members talk to him, or explaining why he might want a lawyer there."
Randy Henckel admitted that he does not know what happened to his grandson, but he wants to make sure Andrew Henckel was not coerced into admitting anything that could put him in legal jeopardy.
“As far as demeanor leading up to this event, whatever it was, there was absolutely zero indication that Andrew was capable of something like this,” he said.
He also expressed deep concern over Andrew Henckel’s ability to process any of the rigorous questions and situations that come with a legal investigation.
“He hasn't had any interactions with the law whatsoever, we'll put it that way,” he said. “So this process of bringing him in and interrogating him, with his autism, makes me question the validity of anything he said without legal counsel present or a family member present.”
Randy Henckel said that his son may not even fully understand what a lawyer is, let alone understand his rights.
“You know what they do. They asked him, ‘Do you waive your rights?' and he would have said, 'Yes, I'll talk to you,'” he said.
Both he and his family have been trying to contact Andrew Henckel through the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, Randy Henckel said.