December 31, 1997 in City

Women Were Shot To Death Number Of Unsolved Cases With Female Victims Climbs To 11; Police Seek Another Missing Woman

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The two women whose bodies were found in southeast Spokane last week died from gunshot wounds, authorities said Tuesday.

Laurie Ann Wason and Shawn McClenahan became the 10th and 11th women shot and dumped in and around Spokane since 1990. Those murders, plus a half-dozen others involving Spokane-area women, remain unsolved.

A joint city-county task force is investigating the murders and is trying to determine whether a serial killer is responsible for some or all of the deaths.

Many of the victims worked as prostitutes, abused drugs or both.

Detectives refused Tuesday to release further information about the deaths of Wason and McClenahan, who were discovered Friday in an overgrown gravel pit near 14th and Carnahan. Both women abused heroin and had worked as prostitutes, according to court records and relatives.

Sheriff’s Capt. Doug Silver would not say how many times the victims were shot, in which portion of the body the wounds were inflicted or what caliber gun was used.

Detectives don’t know whether the bodies were left in the tall grass off 14th Avenue at the same time, Silver said. They hope laboratory tests will help pinpoint when the women died and when they were left, he said.

It’s also too early to know whether Wason and McClenahan were sexually assaulted, Silver added. “We won’t know that for some time, until the lab work gets back,” he said.

The four-detective task force is seeking help from federal and state experts on serial killers.

Members of the FBI’s Violent Crime Apprehension Program will arrive in Spokane on Jan. 19 to review the files of the unsolved murders and offer advice. The agents won’t provide a profile of potential suspects, however, Silver said.

“You don’t start profiling until you’ve exhausted all investigative leads. We haven’t done that yet,” he said.

In addition, the task force has sent information to the state attorney general’s office for analysis and has been communicating with authorities in Calgary, Alberta, who are investigating a string of unsolved murders there.

Since the discovery of Wason and McClenahan, the task force also has intensified its search for 34-year-old Linda Marie Maybin, who disappeared Nov. 22.

On Tuesday, investigators released a new photograph of Maybin and asked that anyone with information on her whereabouts call Crime Check at 456-2233.

Authorities said Maybin is known to hang out on a stretch of East Sprague Avenue just east of downtown that is known for its illicit sex and drug trade.

She has several arrests for prostitution and other misdemeanors and twice pleaded guilty to felony forgery this year, according to court records.

Several of the murder victims also frequented East Sprague.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo


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