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The original item was published from 4/4/2019 3:29:17 PM to 4/19/2019 12:05:02 AM.

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Sheriff's Office

Posted on: April 4, 2019

[ARCHIVED] UPDATE: Suspect Charged with Murder 1st Degree (DV)

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UPDATE: Suspect Charged with Murder 1st Degree (DV) 


The suspicious death investigation is now officially a homicide investigation.  Today, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Detectives charged 28-year-old Joseph W. Scheel, the uncooperative male Deputies contacted inside the apartment yesterday afternoon, with Murder 1st Degree (DV).  Scheel was booked into the Spokane County Jail last night as a Fugitive due to an active Felony, Dangerous Drugs, warrant issued in Idaho.    

 

Through the investigation, Detectives learned the following:


On April 2, 2019, at approximately 10:00 a.m., Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies, responded to a welfare check at the apartment located in the 4900 block of E. Upriver Drive.  The caller reported that a female employee hadn’t shown up for work in two days which was very unusual.  The caller also explained that the female and her boyfriend “Joseph” were having difficulties. 


Deputies responded to the location and received no answer at the door which was locked.  Attempts to contact the female by phone were also unsuccessful.  With no further information or reason to enter the residence by force, Deputies cleared the scene.   


On April 2, 2019, at approximately 3:30 p.m., Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to an attempted theft of a purse from a Safeway customer on W. Francis.  During that investigation, the suspect matched the general description of Scheel and left in a vehicle which was found to be registered to the female from the requested welfare check. 


Additional Deputies responded to the apartment complex, attempted to contact the female again and check for her vehicle.  Deputies contacted a manager of the complex who explained she spoke with the female on March 31, 2019.  The apartment lease was expiring at the end of March and would not be renewed.  She also explained that another manager spoke with the female on April 1, 2019.  Deputies did not locate the female’s vehicle and received no answer at the door.  Again, without articulable legal justification to force entry into the private residence, Deputies cleared the location.       


On April 3, 2019, at approximately 11:30 a.m., Deputies returned to the apartment to assist apartment managers who intended to enter the residence and requested law enforcement’s presence due to the situation.  Arriving Deputies also located the female’s vehicle parked north of the apartment complex on Buckeye. 


The manager explained they went to the apartment earlier but didn’t receive an answer.  At that time, a ladder was located below the apartment balcony, and it appeared to have been used by someone to gain entry into the apartment.  An apartment manager went with Deputies to the apartment and knocked and made verbal announcements several times without receiving an answer.  The door was unlocked with a master key, but the door would not open and appeared to be barricaded from the inside. 


Suddenly, Scheel yelled for them to get out of his apartment.  During conversations with Scheel, he refused to open the door, and he told Deputies he hadn’t seen the female for a couple of days and didn’t know where she was. 


With Scheel uncooperative and with growing concern the female could be inside, being held against her will, injured or in desperate need of assistance, Deputies forced entry into the apartment.  Even after they made entry, Scheel resisted their attempts to place him in handcuffs.  After a short struggle, Scheel was detained.

       

During a sweep of the apartment to check for any other occupants, Deputies discovered a deceased female. They secured the scene and requested the assistance of Major Crimes Detectives.


Detectives obtained a search warrant for the apartment and with the assistance of Forensic Unit personnel remained at the scene documenting and collecting evidence through the evening/morning until approximately 11:00 a.m. today. 


This afternoon, after establishing probable cause based on the investigation, Detectives charged Scheel with Murder 1st Degree (DV).   


The Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office will release the name of the decedent pending positive identification, along with cause and manner of death, when appropriate to do so.


This investigation is active and ongoing; no further information is available at this time.


###

Original Press Release from April 3, 2019:

 

Major Crimes Detectives Investigating a Suspicious Death


Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Detectives are at an apartment where an adult female was found deceased this afternoon. Deputies contacted an uncooperative adult male inside the apartment and later arrested for an unrelated felony warrant. 


On April 3, 2019, Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies, following up on a requested welfare check of an adult female, arrived at an apartment complex located in the 4900 block of E. Upriver Drive. After conducting an initial investigation and establishing the need to enter the apartment to check the welfare of the female, the Deputies contacted an uncooperative male inside the apartment and detained him.


During a sweep of the apartment to check for any other occupants, Deputies discovered a deceased female. They secured the scene and requested the assistance of Major Crimes Detectives.


Detectives are at the scene and currently working to obtain a search warrant to enter the apartment, along with Spokane County Forensic personnel, to continue the investigation.


The male was arrested on an out-of-state unrelated felony warrant and is currently being interviewed by Detectives.


The Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office will release the name of the decedent pending positive identification, along with cause and manner of death, when appropriate to do so.


Investigators expect to be at the scene for most of the evening.


This is an active investigation, and no additional information is available at this time.


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