October 22, 1997 in City

Autopsy: Woman Found At Dam Was Murdered 22-Year-Old Led Life Of Prostitution, Drugs; She Leaves Behind 1-Year-Old Daughter

By The Spokesman-Review

Teresalyn Asmussen, who lived dangerously, died violently and much too young.

Crews cleaning an intake pipe at the Post Street dam on Friday discovered the 22-year-old’s body caught on a grate used to keep debris out of the turbines.

An autopsy revealed that someone had bashed in Asmussen’s head before dumping her 100-pound body into the Spokane River.

She may have been in the water for up to a week before she was found, major crimes Lt. Jerry Oien said Tuesday. Detectives have no suspects and no motive in her death, Oien said.

They’ll likely be concentrating their investigation along the street corners and alleys of East Sprague Avenue, where, according to court records, Asmussen worked as a prostitute and bought drugs to feed her addiction.

Asmussen had been in and out of jail and rehabilitation centers since she was 14, court records show. She had done time for prostitution, drug possession and malicious mischief.

Her last arrest came in September, when she was picked up for carrying drug paraphernalia.

Drugs appeared to be a big problem for Asmussen, who told a county corrections officer in 1996 that she got high the day she was released from rehabilitation.

Her last known address was at the Merlin Apartments downtown. The 1996 graduate of Spokane’s Jantsch High School left behind a daughter who’s not yet 2.

Detectives don’t think Asmussen’s case is related to the deaths of two other women found murdered this year, Oien said.

The decomposed bodies of 20-year-old Heather Hernandez and 16-year-old Jennifer Joseph were found at separate locations on Aug. 26. Both women, who had worked as prostitutes, had been shot and dumped.

City and county investigators are trying to determine if the deaths of Hernandez and Joseph, and the unsolved murders of five other women, are related.

So far, no solid link has been found.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

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