Update on Suspicious Death 2800 block of S. Park Lane

Clarification Regarding Suspicious Death Investigation on S. Park Lane

Regarding the suspicious Death investigation on S. Park Lane, this IS still an active investigation and suspicious in nature as the Medical Examiner’s Office has not determined the cause and manner of Rex C. Porter’s death nor have the Detectives determined through their investigation his death was a homicide, accidental or by some other means. 


Court Documents, search warrant affidavit, prepared the day of the discovery Rex Porter’s remains, were cited and unfortunately, in graphic detail by news sources.  In addition, news accounts specifically used the word “dismembered” which was a word they choose to use and was never used in the search warrant. 


Again, investigators did not use the word contained in headlines.  The specific information was obtained through public records and gleaned from a search warrant written the day of the welfare check, shortly after the remains were discovered in the back yard. 


On April 6, 2019, the Deputies entered the residence as a welfare check, without a warrant, believing someone was in need of immediate assistance, conducting a search for the sole reason.  During the search, a nonverbal vulnerable adult male, in poor hygienic condition, was located in a basement bedroom. He was provided medical attention and transported to a hospital for continued care where he remains as he is unable to care for himself.  He was not arrested.


Once the search was completed, finding no one else in immediate need of assistance or in danger, Deputies secured the scene and requested the assistance of Major Crimes Detectives to continue the investigation of the suspicious death of Rex Porter.  Search warrants are requested in possible criminal investigations and must state a crime.  With the cause and manner of death unknown, a search warrant was needed to conduct an investigation into the death of Rex Porter and the potential crime being investigated was listed as homicide.  This suspicious death investigation continues because facts and evidence have not answered those questions.


To clear up misconceptions, no one has been arrested or charged with a crime in connection with this investigation.  As this investigation continues, in partnership with the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office, Rex Porter’s cause and manner of death will be determined based on the facts and evidence learned. 


We urge everyone to remember there is a family who lost a loved one and friends or coworkers who lost someone close to them.  Because of that, we caution anyone from rushing to judgment or speculating on what occurred.


The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office asks our community to join us as we keep the family and friends of Rex Porter in our thoughts and prayers during this very sad and tragic time.


General Terms and Information:


Any “unattended death” meaning a death not at a hospital or under medical care, will be investigated as an unattended death.  Examples can be but not limited to, medical condition, natural causes, overdoes, suicide, accidental, etc. must be investigated by law enforcement.  In these incidents, the death, by the information and facts known, is not believed to be criminal in nature and probably is not.  


Depending on the circumstances, the investigation may be called a “suspicious death investigation” if it is not known if a death was criminal in nature or not.  In these investigations, known information and facts do not heavily point in one direction or the other.     


An investigation may be called a “murder or homicide investigation” if the known information and facts heavily point toward a criminal act. 


Law enforcement must treat everything initially as a criminal investigation and preserve the scene and evidence because we (law enforcement) cannot recreate the scene afterward.  If evidence is not preserved and collected correctly, it would be lost if the death was later determined to be criminal in nature.


Detained vs. Arrested:  The difference between the two is whether or not a person is charged with a crime.  If a person is detained, they are not free to leave but have not been charged with a crime.  A person who is arrested is not free to leave and has been charged with a crime.

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Press Release from April 7, 2019:

Suspicious Death Investigation on S. Park Lane


Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Deputies responded to a welfare check and located a deceased male at the premises. A vulnerable adult, who reportedly lived at the residence, also was discovered. Major Crimes Detectives and Forensic Unit personnel responded to the scene to continue the investigation.


On April 6, 2019, at approximately 11:20 a.m., Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a welfare check at a residence located in the 2800 block of S. Park Lane.

The caller reported a vehicle with its door left open had been parked in the front yard for two days, and the garage door was also open. He hadn’t seen any activity or people at the residence and advised an older adult homeowner lives there, and he cares for a younger disabled adult.

Deputies arrived, and as they attempted to contact anyone, they looked through a front window and observed broken glass on the floor and other items in disarray inside. They announced their presence and received no response. They entered the home and immediately smelled the strong odor of animal feces and urine.

During the search, a nonverbal vulnerable adult male, in poor hygienic condition, was located in a basement bedroom. He was provided medical attention and transported to a hospital for continued care where he remains as he is unable to care for himself.

Deputies located the remains of an older deceased male in the backyard of the residence and immediately secured the scene.

Major Crimes Detectives assisted by Forensic Unit personnel were called to the scene to continue the investigation once a search warrant was obtained.

At this time, Investigators are considering this a suspicious death investigation, but they do not believe the public is in any danger stemming from this incident.

The Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office will release the name of the decedent pending positive identification, along with cause and manner of death, when appropriate to do so.

As this is an active investigation, no further information is available.

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Corporal Mark Gregory

Spokane County Sheriff’s Office

Spokane Valley Police Department
Public Information Officer 

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