April 14, 1995 in City

Women Stabbed, Mutilated Mother, 14-Year-Old Daughter Discovered Dead In Home

Associated Press
 
Tags:murder

The stabbed and mutilated nude bodies of a woman and her teen-age daughter were found Thursday in their home, authorities said.

Rita Huffman, 48, was found in the family room of her neat rambler-style house. Her daughter, Mandy, 14, was found in the master bedroom, lying on top of the bed, said Coroner Gerald Rappe, who works for both Douglas and Chelan counties.

“There was stabbing and cutting on both bodies, but I have absolutely no idea at the present time of whether those were actually the cause of death or done after death,” Rappe said.

“There’s evidence of sexual mutilation, but I don’t know if there’s been any sexual assault … This is worse than any case we’ve ever had.”

Douglas County Sheriff Dan LaRoche said police have no suspects.

Local investigators secured the scene but were awaiting the Washington State Patrol crime lab unit from Spokane before examining it, LaRoche said.

“All I can say is that there was very violent trauma,” LaRoche said. “There doesn’t appear to be evidence of a struggle or forced entry, but our visual search has been real brief. We just don’t want to contaminate any blood or hair fibers or anything else that might be at the scene.”

Huffman was divorced from Douglas County Port Commissioner Jim Huffman, who is the environmental coordinator for the Chelan County Public Utility District.

The bodies were discovered Thursday morning by Angie Zimmerman, Rita Huffman’s adult daughter from a previous marriage, who had come to the home to check on her mother and sister when they did not answer the telephone, LaRoche said.

Neighbors who saw Zimmerman after she found the bodies called emergency services and reported a hysterical woman in the street. They thought she might have been hit by a car, LaRoche said.

“She … discovered the scene, and ran out again into the street,” LaRoche said. “She was very hysterical, and that’s why people called 911.”

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