Medical Examiner: Deer Park woman was strangled

SPOKANE, Wash. - Chanin Starbuck, the Deer Park woman who was found dead in her home over the weekend, was strangled to death, the Spokane County medical examiner's office confirmed Tuesday afternoon.

The medical examiner also confirmed that she was a victim of a homicide.

Starbuck was found in her Deer Park home by deputies who were performing a welfare check at her residence after several people became concerned that they had not seen her in several days and there was uncollected mail and packages on her porch.

Investigators termed her death suspicious because of Starbuck's age and marks on her body that were not consistent with natural causes. However there were no obvious signs of trauma and it wasn't until the medical examiner found those indications of strangulation that detectives knew they were after a killer.

Now they're in the process of retracing Starbuck's steps the last days she was alive.

"We always look at history, whether this person has spouses, ex-spouses, boyfriends, ex-boyfriends, if there is any domestic violence history. If there's any violent history, stalkers. we're always looking into that kind of stuff," Lieutenant Steve Barbieri with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office said.

Investigators have also been looking at Starbuck's recent divorce from her husband Clay. The couple's marriage was dissolved at the end of July and after that Chanin Starbuck complained Clay wasn't making child support payments.

Clay Starbuck was found in contempt of court on October 28 and ordered to pay a $9,000 judgment, including Chanin's attorney's fees.

Mr. Starbuck was questioned by detectives at the Public Safety Building but is not listed as a suspect in his ex-wife's death.