UPDATE: Detectives Arrest Sexual Assault Suspect
Spokane Valley Sexual Assault Detectives arrested 46 year-old Steven B. Pallett yesterday afternoon, charging him with Kidnapping 1st Degree and Rape 1st Degree. Investigators identified Pallett using cell phone “tower dumps” obtained via a search warrant and systematically eliminating phone numbers which didn’t coincide with the crime timeline or details.
With the potential of additional victims or witnesses of Pallett’s behavior, we are releasing his photo. Detective Armstrong urges anyone who may have been victimized or knows of Pallett’s behavior to contact him at 509-477-6610.
On March 18, 2017, Sexual Assault Detectives began investigating a reported assault where the adult female victim stated she accepted a ride from a male suspect who was armed with a handgun and forced her to give him oral sex.
After interviewing the victim a few days later, she admitted she was working as a prostitute on March 18, 2017 when she was picked up by the suspect near Sprague and Hatch. The suspect drove to Valley Mission Park, near the A-frame wooden structure, and they both got out of the vehicle. The suspect told the victim he wasn’t paying her and retrieved a semi-auto pistol from his vehicle and pointed at her. He continued to threaten her with the handgun and forced her to give him oral sex before he fled in his vehicle.
A sexual assault kit was completed after the incident and a DNA sample obtained which resulted in a DNA profile. The profile was checked against other known DNA profiles in CODIS (FBI Combined DNA Index System) without success.
Sexual Assault Unit Detective Armstrong, assigned as the lead for this case, obtained a search warrant for a cell phone “tower dump” associated with local carriers servicing the area of Sprague and Hatch and Valley Mission Park during the specific time frames the suspect was believed to have picked up the victim (8:40-9:05 p.m.) and when the crime occurred (9:00-9:30 p.m.). This information (numbers only-no identifying information) produced over 17,000 cell phone numbers between all the carriers from the two locations. The numbers were cross referenced and numbers failing to match both locations during the determined time frames were eliminated. Of the remaining approximately 120 possible matches, females and males who did not fit the victim’s description of the suspect were eliminated, leaving 17 possibilities. While viewing driver’s license pictures of the 17 possibilities, only one (Steven Pallett) was immediately recognized as matching. Further research revealed Pallett owned a silver 2001 Chevy Cavalier, as well as additional information provided by the victim matched.
A search of the pawn database showed Pallett repeatedly pawned a .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol, which also matched the description given by the victim. Those records listed a phone number for Pallett which was the same number identified from the cell phone data.
A search of Pallett’s past showed he was reported, by name or exact license plate, as scaring, assaulting, or patronizing prostitutes, but none of these led to his arrest.
Yesterday afternoon, Pallett was arrested for Kidnapping 1st Degree and Rape 1st Degree and was transported to the Public Safety Building to be interviewed. Afterward, he was booked into the Spokane County Jail for these charges.
An additional search warrant was obtained for Pallett’s residence, located in the 5800 block of E. 4th Avenue, where detectives recovered a semi-auto handgun believed to have been used during this crime. A DNA sample was also obtained from Pallet. That sample will be analyzed and checked against the DNA profile obtained from the victim’s sexual assault kit and the CODIS database.
Original Release from March 20, 2017:
Detectives Investigate Sexual Assault Incident
Spokane Valley Sexual Assault Detectives are investigating a reported assault where the adult female victim stated a male suspect she had accepted a ride from was armed with a handgun and forced her to give him oral sex.
On March 18, 2017, at approximately 9:30 p.m., Spokane Valley Deputies responded to assist a Washington State Trooper who contacted a female who was waving her arms and screaming for help while walking on I-90.
The victim stated she parked her truck, which had run out of gas, at 7-11 located at Division and 2nd. She began walking toward the Motel 6 where a friend was staying on Argonne in Spokane Valley when a male in a tan or silver 2000s Chevrolet Cavalier stopped and asked her if she needed a ride. She accepted and got into the vehicle.
The male drove onto I-90 and she asked where the male was going because she felt this wasn’t the correct way to get to her friend’s, but the male didn’t answer. The victim stated she was on the phone at this time but the suspect grabbed the phone, tossed it in the backseat, and told her it was the last call she would ever make.
The suspect began ordering her to remove parts of her clothing just prior to exiting I-90 at Argonne. Instead of turning north toward the hotel, the suspect turned south and then east on Mission. The suspect turned north from Mission and drove to the secluded area with an A-frame structure north of the park next to I-90. The victim said she demanded to be let go but the male began calling her several derogatory names and told her to go inside the structure. Once inside, he demanded she remove her clothes before he exited the building and went back to his vehicle. As she began to follow his demands, the suspect returned with a black semi-auto pistol and pointed it at her.
The victim stated she begged the suspect to use the condom she had but he refused and told her if she behaved, she would survive. The victim stated she was ordered to perform oral sex before the suspect went back to his car and drove away.
The victim stated she got dressed, jumped the fence onto I-90 and began attempting to summon help.
The suspect was described as a white male in his 40’s, with shoulder length straight brown hair with a goatee and mustache.
Anyone who has information regarding this incident, can help or witnessed anything suspicious in the area of Mission Park around this time frame is asked to call Crime Check at 509-456-2233, reference #10033826.