Man’s death in Valleyford not a crime, medical examiner rules

Three killed after car crashes into river near Ponderay

VALLEYFORD, Wash. — A man whose body was found decomposing in a Valleyford garage died by suicide.

The Spokane County Medical Examiner ruled that the 59-year-old man died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, though it is unknown how long ago that happened.

The man’s body was found in late August, but was not reported until October 13 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.

Court documents show the woman and her friend were driving along South Valley Chapel Road when their car overheated. They walked up to the home looking for water, but no one answered when they knocked.

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

The woman told authorities 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.

Court records show they found a 2010 Chrysler 300 and when the opened the driver door, found the man’s body sitting in the front seat.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office received a search warrant to search the property and found the man’s body in the garage. Deputies noted the house did look like it had been burglarized.

With the medical examiner’s investigation completed, it was determined the man’s death was not criminal.

If you or someone you know is in crisis and experiencing suicidal thoughts, you are urged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255 or the regional crisis line at 1-877-266-1818.

RELATED: Thieves find decomposing body in Valleyford garage