Thieves tip off law enforcement of decomposing body in Valleyford garage

Spokane County Deputies

SPOKANE CO., Wash. — Searching for items to steal from buildings they assumed were abandoned, two people found a man’s decomposing body inside a garage in Valleyford.

The gruesome discovery happened in late August but the body was not reported until October 13th when one of the witnesses was arrested in Whitman County. She told deputies what she saw, hoping the tip would get her out of jail.

According to court documents, the woman and her friend were driving in late August when their car overheated. They pulled over at a home near the 16400 block of South Valley Chapel Road.

They knocked on the door looking for some water but no one was home.

The pair went around back and found a broken window. Assuming the home was empty, they went inside to see if there was anything worth stealing.

The woman told deputies the home was in disarray and looked as if it had been ransacked. The two left once their car cooled off and returned later that evening to see what was inside a detached, three door shop.

The side door pushed open and once inside, they found a 2010 Chrysler 300. According to court documents the duo approached the driver door, opened it and found a “clearly deceased person” sitting in the front seat. The two ran away terrified that night in August.

Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies learned of the death Tuesday after getting the tip from Whitman County deputies.

With a search warrant in hand, Spokane County deputies visited the property on Tuesday and found the man’s body in the garage just like the witness said.

They also noted that the interior of the house looked as if it has been burglarized. Deputies found damage to a metal gate and said it appeared a vehicle had rammed through it.

The Sheriff’s Office is investigating whether the death was natural, homicide or suicide.

The man’s daughter lives in the area and told deputies she last spoke to her father in late June and has driven past the property several times but didn’t see him.

The man’s neighbor described him as someone who kept to himself.

The Spokane County Medical Examiner has not released the man’s identity.