Court records: Woman found dead in burning house may have been murdered

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. – An elderly woman found dead inside a burning house may have been murdered, according to new court records. 

Detectives are now investigating her death as possible arson and homicide. 

Firefighters responded to the house fire on S. Clinton Road earlier this month when a postal worker reported seeing smoke. 

Firefighters found the woman face down in the kitchen with blood pooling around her head. They found heavy sooting in her airways as they tried to resuscitate her, but they were unsuccessful and declared her dead. 

Fire investigators went into the house and found fire damage confined to three separate areas, but no connection between them. 

They found burn damage to a large couch in the living room, in a bedroom under an exterior window and to a mattress and bedframe in a second bedroom. 

Court records show there was no extensive fire damage in the kitchen area where the woman’s body was found, just smoke damage. 

The victim had a large protrusion above and around her right eyebrow. Court records show this being consistent with a large hematoma from possible blunt force trauma or a fall. She also had burn damage to her extremities, but they “did not seem to match any fire damage in the living room, near where the body was reportedly found.” 

The victim is believed to have lived at the home with her adult son. Police say the son is currently cooperating with law enforcement. 

Detectives are now looking to search the home for possible evidence of a crime. The cause of the fire and manner of death of the victim are still unknown.