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Missing teen's body found in trunk

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Photo courtesy of Google Maps
Photo courtesy of Google Maps

It was a cold night on October 22 when Dane Massie let his dogs out. With a chill in the air and the waxing moon rising overhead, the dogs kept running up to an old abandoned car at the edge of Massie's neighborhood.

Massie didn't think much of the vehicle at first. After all, a dumped old car isn't unusual for a north Spokane neighborhood, but the dogs kept returning to it.

Eventually, Massie and a friend decided to investigate. He popped the hood and immediately noticed that the battery was missing and the ignition was hanging out the front. And something else: "It was a strong smell," he recalled. "It smelled like death."

Circling the car, his friend popped the trunk and discovered the source of the smell. Rotting in the back was the corpse of 19-year-old Andrew Sorenson. They immediately called the police.

The investigation led to the quick arrest of 60-year-old John Eisenman, who admitted to police on his arrest that he killed Sorenson. Eisenman was booked and held, with his bail set at $1 million.

Eisenman claimed that Sorenson sold his daughter into a sex-trafficking ring in Seattle and that he and his fiancée rescued her last year. Police have no confirmation that this is true.

In November 2020, Eisenman learned that Sorenson was at a trailer park in Airway Heights. He abducted the young man, zip-tied his arms and legs, and stuck him in the trunk of his fiancée's car. He then bludgeoned him with a cement brick and stabbed him multiple times.

A man who works for the Spokane Medical Examiner's office and prefers to remain anonymous described the body, saying it was "very decomposed. [The] head was not attached to the body when we found it. It could've been post-mortem [decomposition] or from the murder itself. It had been sitting in the trunk [of an] early '90s Honda Del Sol. Multiple stab wounds throughout the abdomen and neck."

On Tuesday, November 29, 2021, an official affidavit was released by Spokane County citing that "the victim's ankles had been bound together with zip ties. The victim's hands were bound behind his back with zip ties."

The investigation also found that the car was registered to Brenda Kross, Eisenman's fiancée. Kross did answer the phone when contacted about the car, and when police arrived at her residence, Eisenman told them the car had been stolen.

Eisenman remained adamant when questioned by police that Sorenson had sold his daughter into a Seattle-based sex trafficing ring for $1,000.

While Eisenman's claims that Sorenson sold his daughter into a Seattle sex-trafficking ring have led many in Eastern Washington to defend the Eisenman, friends and family of Sorenson say that just wasn't him.

The affidavit also concurs that there was no sex trafficking.

Photo courtesy of The Sorenson Family  

Andrew Sorenson
Andrew Sorenson was adopted as a baby. When he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, his family did everything they could to get him into speech classes and occupational therapy. Eventually, he was able to walk and attend school just as any other child.

As he got older, his family began to notice their son was a bit different from other kids. Social interaction was hard for him, and teachers had to explain physical space and boundaries. Eventually, he was diagnosed with autism.

Sorenson struggled to fit in at school with other teens but found his community among Spokane's street youth. "With his autism, he just felt like he could fit in," his mother told The Spokesman-Review. "And he just, I don't know, made friends."

While only 1% of the general population is homeless, 12.9% of the autistic population is. Had he not had such an involved family, Sorenson could have found himself living on the streets like his friends.

He knew he was privileged, and he wanted to help those he cared about. He would invite the homeless teens to stay with his family. "Every single one of the kids that came here knew they were cared about, they were respected, and they were encouraged," his mother said.

The Sorensons helped these kids get on food stamps, enroll in GED classes, and get Medicaid cards.

The Eisenmans
One day Sorenson brought home a girl, the step-daughter of John Eisenman. His family helped her out just as they did with the others, until, one day, everything changed.

The girl received a $22,000 settlement from a car accident. For a homeless teen, the money could have meant a new life, a new future. Instead, her friends encouraged her to buy a new car, new clothes, and drugs, and take a trip to Seattle.

The trip went south quickly. According to Sorenson's parents, their son drove the teens to Seattle, dropped them off, then took the car to pick up some acquaintances across town. In the official affidavit, it is confirmed the teens ended up in Renton when Sorenson left them at a 7-11 gas station. All those involved were under the influence of methamphetamine.

The car was stolen, with Sorenson's phone inside. He waited in Seattle for a few days until his uncle could pick him up and bring him home.

Meanwhile, Eisenman and his fiancée made their way to Seattle to pick up the girl. Records show she was involuntarily admitted to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. Police were called and informed during her stay that she had threatened to kill Sorenson and her parents.

A week later, Sorenson went missing. He had packed a small overnight bag to visit a friend and assured his mom he would be back soon. She never saw her son again.

Over the last year, Sorenson's family filed a missing-person report and continued to hold out hope that he would return.

His parents thought maybe he was living on the streets somewhere, doing drugs, but his sudden disappearance without any contact was unusual. "Him not being on social media at all, just cut off Nov. 1st was, you know... A lot of families think that something really bad had happened," his mother said, "but I just had so much hope we could find him and that we could get him help."

Sorenson's family was heartbroken to hear that their son had been dead the whole time, and his body had been so close to home. Eisenman stole their son's future, and even more heartbreaking, slandered his memory.

The sex-trafficking allegations quickly went viral on Facebook, with strangers on the internet condemning a dead autistic teen for a crime with no backing, as alledged by his murderer. As of November 1, 2021, the Christian crowdfunding site "Give Send Go" had already raised $61,000 for Eisenman's bail.

In the official affidavit, investigators dispute the claim that Eisenman's daughter was "passed around Seattle for three weeks" and note that the girl was only there for a couple of days. Furthermore, Eisenman admits he, Kross, and the daughter "went on rides in downtown Seattle and did stupid stuff and wasted all day before heading back to Spokane."
While under investigation, Eisenman admitted he was likely under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of the murder, and that he was using the substance on a daily basis.

Disputes over what led to Sorenson's death continue to circulate, and his mother has her suspicions.

"There were probably plans made behind this money," she says of the settlement her son encouraged Eisenman's step-daughter to spend.
As for the step-daughter, her mother, Brenda Kross, confirms that she has been homeless in Arizona for the last year.

"Every single day, she's on the streets as a homeless girl at 19. If they're so worried about her getting sex-trafficked, why don't they go get her?" said Sorenson's mother.

The investigation into the murder is ongoing, and many are left wondering what drove Eisenman to kill, what will justice look like, and how a dead body could sit in a Spokane neighborhood for nearly a year before being discovered.

As of November 29, 2021, Eisenman remains in jail with a $1 million bond.