Man suspected of murder after half-brother’s body found along Mendocino County beach
A man has been arrested in Mendocino County in suspicion of murdering his half-brother, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
39-year-old Mark David Schwinghammer — of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota — was identified as the primary suspect in the death of Timothy Dalton Sweet (30), whose partially submerged body was found at the base of a rocky cliff near Wages Creek.
Deputies had responded on the night of September 12 to a requested welfare check on the 37000 block of North Highway 1 in Westport; family members of Schwinghammer had been concerned by a threatening text message he’d allegedly sent around, and suspected he may have been experiencing a mental health crisis. The situation was later determined not to be mental-health related.
Responding deputies also learned that a second person, identified as Sweet, had wandered away from the family residence and hadn’t returned. Schwinghammer claimed that Sweet had gone to the beach to look for mussels, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Later, after deputies had discovered and retrieved Sweet’s body, an on-scene exam revealed that he appeared to have died as a result of homicide. Initial findings from an autopsy on September 15 confirmed that he had been beaten to death.
Schwinghammer was already in custody by the time these findings came to light. Two days prior, on the morning of September 13, detectives had obtained a search warrant for the Highway 1 residence and, by the end of the search, had developed probable cause to suspect that Schwinghammer was responsible for Sweet’s death.
Schwinghammer remains in custody at the Mendocino County Jail on $500,000 bond.