Murder Suspect Arrested at Balfour Park During Unlawful Camping Patrol
During an unlawful camping patrol contact at Balfour Park in Spokane Valley, Spokane Valley Deputy Branson Schmidt, newly assigned to the Spokane Valley Police Bike Patrol Unit, contacted multiple people lying underneath a homemade tent. One of the males was found to have a valid felony Murder 2nd Degree warrant for his arrest, stemming from an April 2021 Major Crimes Homicide Investigation.
On June 30, 2021, at approximately 4:15 p.m., Spokane Valley Deputy Schmidt contacted two males unlawfully camping underneath what appeared to be a homemade tent in Balfour Park, a violation of Spokane Valley Municipal Code 7.50.025.
One of the males was identified as 27-year-old Zane C. McDonald. A check of his name revealed there was an active felony Murder 2nd Degree warrant for his arrest. When a second backup Deputy arrived to assist, McDonald was arrested without incident.
The second male was provided resource information and warned not to camp at the park before being released at the scene without charges.
The Murder warrant for McDonald had just been entered into the system approximately 20 minutes before Deputy Schmidt contacted him. McDonald was transported to the Public Safety Building to be interviewed by Major Crimes Detective Scott Bonney. Once at the Public Safety Building, McDonald attempted to run, but his attempt to escape was quickly foiled. After being advised of his rights, he declined to answer questions. McDonald was booked into the Spokane County Jail for Murder 2nd Degree with his bond set at $1,000,000.
Major Crimes Detective Bonney developed probable cause to obtain the Murder warrant due to an investigation that began on April 23, 2021, when 58-year-old Anthony Plumb was found deceased inside his motorhome in the 900 block of N. Felts.
During the month’s long and meticulous investigation, Detective Bonney developed McDonald as a suspect in Plumb’s murder through interviews of witnesses, cell phone data, tips from the public, and evidence located in a stolen Jeep where McDonald was found in the driver’s seat and arrested on May 12, 2021. Additional evidence was collected with the assistance of Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Forensic Technicians and Major Crimes Detective Dean Meyer. DNA samples were sent to the Washington State Crime Lab for testing and comparison. The results of those tests are pending.
On June 30, 2021, Detective Bonney obtained a warrant for McDonald’s arrest, charging him with Murder 2nd Degree.
From Detective Bonney’s investigation, McDonald could also face Murder 1st Degree, Robbery 1st Degree, and Theft 1st Degree charges in the future.
The Spokane Valley Police Bike Patrol Unit was revived only a few short weeks ago after sitting idle for more than a decade. The Bike Patrol Unit’s objective is to improve safety in Spokane Valley Parks, the Appleway and Centennial Trail, and other hard-to-patrol areas. Deputies on bikes can easily maneuver and patrol these areas allowing them to address criminal activity, unlawful camping, and other unwanted activity reported by people enjoying the Spokane Valley’s beautiful parks and trails.