Editor’s note: This story is the first installment of the Renton Reporter’s two-part series, 303 Factory Avenue North, which investigates the mysterious deaths of two teenager girls and their father last December.
On Dec. 11, 2021, Renton Police detectives were notified of a “code red” just after 11:30 a.m.
The message sent out to first responders and investigators detailed that three people were found deceased at 303 Factory Ave. N., in Renton. Two teenage girls and their father were found dead inside the home.
The girls were found wrapped in blankets with hoodies over their heads. A detective noted that they were both leaning against a couch “as if they were sitting down to watch a movie, however there was no TV.”
They were bundled up in sweats, socks and sweatshirts, but oddly seated on a bare tile floor. The temperature inside the residence was at 73 degrees Fahrenheit, noted by the first arriving units. The girls were side by side, a few inches apart. A few water bottles were found next to them.
The girls’ father was found upstairs laying on his side. He was not in his bed, but had a blanket under his head, fashioned as a pillow.
Detectives reported that there were no signs of any trauma, nor any immediately noticeable blood or bodily fluid around them. Carbon monoxide poisoning was ruled out almost immediately, as the apartment did not have gas utilities, and a cat was still alive in the home.
According to notes from detectives that first arrived on the scene, the apartment seemed “unusually empty” of furnishings.
“There was only an ‘L’ shaped sectional and a low entertainment center in the living room, no table or chairs in the kitchen/dining room, only one bed and a mattress on the floor in the east bedroom, only a mattress on the floor in the west bedroom, and no dressers or incidental furniture,” a detective noted in case reports. “There were no televisions anywhere in the apartment. A black board in the living room area had a to-do list of chores, with ‘custom of women’ and a listing of ‘feast day’ foods.”
The detective noted there were large numbers of scriptural references on handwritten notes on the walls. There was a wooden box on the landing of the stairs to the second floor, which contained a number of canned food items.
“Aside from that, there was no food evident anywhere in the apartment,” the report continued. “The freezer and refrigerator were empty, aside what looked to be some drying plant matter in the door (later tentatively identified as snowberries), and three bottles of various supplements.”
After removing the blankets from the girls, the medical examiner found that they had bibles on their laps.
With no obvious manner of death able to be determined by police, months went by as the community was left to wonder about what could have happened to the family at 303 Factory Avenue.
More than six months passed before the Renton Police Department issued a press release outlining the findings of the King County Medical Examiner’s Office autopsy and toxicological analysis.
The medical examiner’s office found all three people were “emaciated, with no food in the residence and written materials about fasting were present in the home,” according to a news release. “With no competing pathological or toxicological causes found, the cause of death for all three has been ruled as protein and calorie deprivation (aka: starvation).”
Due to the timing of the deaths, officials said the father Manuel Gil’s death has been ruled a suicide. With no way to determine what the two girls’ state of mind and intent was, “the manner of their death has formally been pronounced as undetermined by the Medical Examiner’s Office.”
With starvation being the cause of death for the three, questions remain unanswered about the fate of the family and the manner in which they died.
How could three starve inside their own home? Did they do it willingly? Who is to blame?
In the next edition of this story, the Renton Reporter speaks with the mother of these two girls, who believes their father was responsible for their deaths.