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Police investigate apparent homicide in Spokane Valley

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Police investigate apparent homicide in Spokane Valley

Spokane Valley police are investigating an apparent homicide that left the victim within a stone's throw of busy, Interstate 90 traffic.

Around 8 a.m. on Thursday, neighbors found a woman's body hidden in the weeds of a vacant lot just west of Custer and 4th Ave.

Someone has been camping beside the column where the victim was discovered, so detectives are wondering if the victim or the killer is a transient.

The makeshift camp was roped off with crime scene tape this morning.

Nearby resident Dawn Dowd wanted to know what was going on.

"This morning, when we saw them roping off down there, my roommate walked down there to see what might be going on and they said there was a body on the other side," Dowd said.

Detectives say the victim was dressed in brown, transient-like clothing. Dowd wonders if it's the woman she's seen camping out under the catwalk.

"Lately there was a couple over on this side of the catwalk, a man and lady, and they've been there mostly just at night," Dowd said.

Investigators think sometime last night the victim was attacked and then her body dumped in the lot. Other neighbors say, based on her description, she might be one of the women they see flagging down johns along 4th Ave.

"So we're going to talk to all the neighbors in the immediate area. Also, anyone who early this morning, last night... If they saw anything suspicious in this general area please call Crime Check and let us know," said Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy Craig Chamberlin.

Detectives are hoping fingerprints taken during the victim's autopsy will reveal her identity and whether her lifestyle made her an easy target for a killer.

"Once the investigation here is complete, she will be released to the medical examiner's office that will perform an autopsy, and then we'll have more answers as far as the cause and manner of death," Deputy Chamberlin said.

If the victim is a prostitute she would be the first working girl to be murdered in the Spokane area since Evon Moore was killed back in August 2011.

Fortunately, Moore's suspected attacker, Derick Vargas, is locked up in jail.

Unfortunately, there are still plenty of abusive johns preying on these very vulnerable, drug addicted women.