August 29, 1997 in City

Woman Found Dead Near Lot Was Transient 20-Year-Old’s Body Found In East Spokane; Few Clues

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Heather Hernandez’s stay in Spokane was short and sad.

Police said the 20-year-old transient arrived in town about a month ago, most likely from Arizona, California or Idaho.

She stayed on the streets and, in the space of a few weeks, was arrested twice for prostitution, according to court records.

On Aug. 21, someone shot her to death, detectives said. Little else is known about Hernandez, whose badly decomposed body was found in an overgrown lot in east Spokane on Tuesday.

Detectives said they have few clues and no motive for the murder, Spokane’s sixth of the year. “We don’t have much,” Lt. Jerry Oien said.

Hernandez was one of two women discovered dead in the Spokane area Tuesday.

Farmers working in a field in the northeastern part of the county found another corpse in some brush about 5:30 p.m.

Details from an autopsy performed on that body Thursday were not released by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Department, which is investigating the case as a homicide.

The recent deaths are two more in a series of unsolved murders in the Spokane area involving women who were either transients or prostitutes.

In 1992, the body of 19-year-old Sherry Palmer, a prostitute, was discovered in a secluded area near Mount Spokane. She had been shot to death.

Donna Lynn Harris, a 40-year-old transient, was found slashed to death in east Spokane last April.

Two months later, the body of 38-year-old Shannon Zielinski, a prostitute, was discovered not far from the spot where Palmer was dumped. She had been shot to death.

Oien said detectives are comparing the crimes but so far have found no solid evidence linking them.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

MEMO: Anyone with information on Hernandez’s death is asked to call Crime Check, 456-2233.

Anyone with information on Hernandez’s death is asked to call Crime Check, 456-2233.


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