‘Some hope’: Decades-old death ruled a homicide, step towards justice for longtime friend

SPOKANE, Wash. — Six cases are getting another look in the Inland Northwest. The current medical examiner is re-opening cause of death questions that were never fully answered.

A re-classification would change the cause of death in the cases. Two have already been overruled, and it’s something those who knew one of the victims says is long overdue.

Kala Williams’ body was discovered near Lindeke Street and 14th Avenue on May 13, 2012. Back then, investigators believed Williams was murdered somewhere else, then dismembered and put into the bags by the killer to dump the remains without being detected. People who loved Williams are still devastated she was taken so tragically.

“She’s a beautiful soul. I wish many more people could have met her,” said Autumn-Rose Maurer. She met Williams when she was 12-years-old and immediately bonded.

Williams lost her life when she was just 20-years-old.

“Kala’s death will not be forgotten,” Maurer said. “She was a beautiful, bright soul and she did not deserve what happened to her.”

She was found dismembered and decomposing in the woods. Today, no one’s been convicted of a crime in her death, but there is a new development.

“After hearing that the case was overturned today, I feel in my heart that there is some hope,” her friend said.

The County’s current medical examiner, Dr. Veena Singh, says the death was a homicide. For 10 years, it was classified undetermined.

The medical examiner’s office says that was the right call at the time. In a statement, the office says:

“If the body is too decomposed, too badly burned, or otherwise too degraded to determine a cause of death, or there is not enough information available at the time of certification about the circumstances, the manner can be classified as undetermined.”

Singh, who is a new ME from when Williams was first discovered, now says “medical and scientific knowledge is continually advancing, and the ME office will always make use of new technology and scientific advances to make the most accurate diagnoses possible.”

This new diagnosis is something her childhood friend always thought was the case.

“I knew without a doubt in my mind that Kala was hurt,” Maurer concluded.

That pain still lives on in those left behind. This update helps heal wounds of a death without justice.

“What’s scarier is the system that’s designed to protect us fails to do so,” she said.

The Medical Examiner will re-evaluate cases like these six at the request of law enforcement and family. When the ME isn’t looking at current deaths, she goes back in the system to see what re-classifications are necessary to look into.

READ: Decades-old ‘undetermined cases’ changed to homicides