A man taking his Rottweiler for a walk Wednesday morning discovered a body buried in a shallow grave south of Spokane, sheriff’s deputies said.
Harold Lebsock found the corpse near Hangman Valley Golf Course about 9 a.m. after his dog ran off a trail and began sniffing near a creek, deputies said.
“The dog apparently has been doing this for two or three days,” said Dave Reagan, sheriff’s spokesman. “Today, the owner got curious and followed him.”
Lebsock, who lives nearby, called deputies immediately after finding the body.
Detectives and evidence experts cordoned off a wooded area adjacent to Hangman Valley Road - about three-tenths of a mile south of the Baltimore Road intersection - and began looking for clues.
“We’re going to have to sift through the grave to see if there is any evidence in the grave site,” said Capt. Doug Silver, who heads the sheriff’s investigative division.
Detectives are treating the case as a homicide, the 16th such investigation in the city and county this year.
The corpse was partially clothed and badly decomposed, deputies said.
Investigators aren’t sure how long the body had been there. It had been pulled partway out of the grave, suggesting animals had scavenged it, Reagan said.
Detectives are expected to remove the corpse today. They will have to wait for an autopsy to determine the age and sex of the victim, Reagan said.
Then they will begin checking missing persons and runaway reports to see if there are any matches.
The area where the body was found is popular with joggers, walkers and children riding bicycles, deputies said.
Residents who witnessed any suspicious activity in the area during the past several weeks are asked to call Crime Check at 456-2233.
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MEMO: The body was identified as Darla Sue Scott.