Home USA News 13-year-old homicide suspect bragged about killing Hanford graduate

13-year-old homicide suspect bragged about killing Hanford graduate


Yazivi Sarabia (right) graduated from Hanford High School in June 2022.  She had planned to attend Columbia College in January before she was killed in the Oct. 15 shooting.

Yazivi Sarabia (right) graduated from Hanford High School in June 2022. She had planned to attend Columbia College in January before she was killed in the Oct. 15 shooting.

Richland School District

A 13-year-old teenager was detained in the village the ambush of a recent Hanford graduate claimed he killed her, cops say.

Investigators say details in eyewitness accounts of the shooting led them to believe more than one person fired at the Jeep. Yatsiv Sarabia drove on October 15.

That guess led them to identify shell casings from three different guns believed to have been used in the killing, according to new court documents.

Layshawn Bethea was arrested Thursday on a warrant for first-degree murder. He is the third person arrested in connection with the shooting. Isaiah Combs, 19, was also charged with murder.

Bethea made his first appearance in Benton County Juvenile Court on Friday. Bail is set at $1 million.

Suspect in the murder of Isaiah Combs preliminary trial
Murder suspect Isaiah Combs, 20, smiles as he looks around a Benton County courtroom Friday during a preliminary hearing for his alleged involvement in the Oct. 15, 2022, shooting death of Yazivi Sarabiah in the area of ​​Highway 397 and East 3rd Avenue. Combs sits next to his quarterback, Eric Scott. Bob Brody bbrawdy@tricityherald.com


Investigators believe the ambush was sparked by an argument that began in Spokane between Combs and the Jeep’s owner, Aubreyanna Asselin, on Oct. 14.

During that argument, Combs pointed a gun at Asselin’s head. Bethea and all the women in the jeep during the shooting were present at the time.

The next day the women left Spokane without Combs. Combs was picked up by Cornell Green and his girlfriend and brought back to the Tri-Cities.

Green has since been charged with criminal assistance. After the shooting, Green reportedly helped bring Combs and Bethea back to Spokane and intended to “say goodbye to them.” At the time, Bethea’s role in the crime was unclear.

Rendering.jpg of the Carnell Green preliminary hearing
Suspect Cornell Green raises his hand to admit to Court Commissioner Megan Whitmire that he can see and hear the proceedings of his preliminary appearance via video link in Benton County Superior Court. Prosecutors have charged Green with criminal assistance in connection with the Oct. 15, 2022, shooting death of Yazivi Sarabia in the area of ​​Highway 397 and East 3rd Avenue. Bob Brody bbrawdy@tricityherald.com

Investigators now believe that it was Bethea who fired the projectile that killed Asselin.

Back in the Tri-Cities, Combs and Bethea met Asselin, Sarabia and the other women at the 3-City Sports Bar on Canal Drive in downtown Kennewick.

There, according to investigators, the women agreed to follow Combs to a party on Yew Street.

Before leaving for the party, Asselin drove back to his father’s house because he wanted to know who she had been with after hearing about the incident in Spokane.

Combs left the bar with Green and his girlfriend while Bethea got into a car with people they knew from Spokane.

As Asselin began driving to the party, investigators say security footage shows Combs and Bethea’s vehicles pulled in front of Asselin and drove side by side, keeping up with him, according to the documents.

Investigators believe that it was then that they started shooting at the jeep. It’s unclear whether they believe three people fired, or whether Combs or Bethea fired more than one gun.

The documents include a description of the gun Combs used, the same one he pulled on Asselin in Spokane, and that Bethea may have had a sawed-off and extended-magazine gun.

Asselin started to run away and returned to her father’s house at 11:48 p.m

The cars containing Combs and Bethea returned to the 3-City Sports Bar at 11:46 p.m., and the occupants went back inside. According to eyewitnesses, Bethea then started bragging that he had killed one of the women.

Witnesses say Bethea claimed Asselin or Sarabia “sat down at the wrong moment and I shot her twice in the face.”

Yatsivy Sarabia fatal shooting scene 397.jpg
According to the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, traffic is moving past several pieces of evidence in the police investigation into the painted circles on Highway 397 where Yazivi Sarabia, 18, was killed on Oct. 15, 2022, when shots were fired at the car she was riding in. Law enforcement officials believe the deadly standoff between two vehicles began around 11:40 p.m., when shots were fired on or near Highway 397, also known as Chemical Drive. Bob Brody bbrawdy@tricityherald.com

Witnesses said Bethea was proud of what he had done and others laughed, but no one else tried to take credit for the killing or contradict Bethea’s claims, according to court documents.

In a recorded phone call to someone at a juvenile detention center, Bethea is said to have claimed he was with Combs when he was arrested on Oct. 20 and hid in the bushes because he had a warrant.

Combs, who was seen laughing and smiling during his court appearance with Sarabia’s family sitting a few meters away, could face up to life in prison if convicted.

Kimberly Sarabia The mother of the murder victim.jpg
Kimberly Sarabia, the mother of homicide victim Yazivi Sarabia, wears a memorial shirt honoring her slain daughter during a Benton County Superior Court hearing for one of the suspects in the case. Bob Brody bbrawdy@tricityherald.com

Investigators obtained a first-degree murder warrant for Bethea on Nov. 2. He was arrested the next day during a traffic stop by the Benton County Sheriff’s Office and the US Marshals Office.

Bethea is one of two teenagers arrested this week for murder. The other, a 14-year-old boy who is in custody but has not yet been charged, is suspected of killing 19-year-old Julian Chavez.

This story was originally published November 4, 2022 at 5:07 p.m.

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Corey is an award-winning investigative journalist. He joined the Tri-City Herald in December 2021 as an editor/reporter covering housing and development issues. His past work can be found in the Tyler Morning Telegraph and other Texas newspapers. He was a 2019-20 Education Writers Association Fellow and has been featured on The Murder Tapes, Grave Mysteries and Crime Watch Daily with Chris Hansen.

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