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Police identify homicide victim

Jennifer M. Bergeron, 21, was the woman found slain in a Spokane apartment Monday, police said Wednesday.

The Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office listed Bergeron’s cause of death as strangulation, acute trauma and blood loss, according to police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe.

Convicted felon Cole K. Strandberg, 22, is being held in the Spokane County Jail on a $1 million bond, facing a charge of first-degree murder.

The connection between Strandberg and Bergeron was unknown Wednesday.

Bergeron was raised by her aunt, the late Darlene Bergeron, in Reardan, Wash., said Barbara Stack, a cousin.

The case started Monday morning when Strandberg went to Sacred Heart Medical Center and told a hospital employee, “I did something really bad,” according to court records.

Strandberg also told the hospital employee that there was a body of a dead woman in his apartment at 1309 S. Chestnut St., and asked that police be called, according to records.

“Strandberg stated that he would probably go to prison for this and wouldn’t get out of jail until he was 60,” Detective Marty Hill wrote in his report.

Officers arrived at the hospital, and Strandberg made similar comments to them, according to court records.

“Strandberg told officers it was gruesome and that he wanted to get rid of the body but she was too big,” Hill wrote.

He then invoked his constitutional right not to speak with officers and asked for an attorney, the records state.

Officers responded with a search warrant and found Bergeron’s body in the back bedroom.

“A defect was observed in the forehead of the victim at the bridge of the nose,” Hill wrote. “A ligature was observed around the victim’s neck.”

It appeared that the victim had been moved several times, Hill wrote.

“Obvious signs were located indicating that the defendant attempted to clean the crime scene,” the report states.

Detectives found what they believe was the weapon used to strike Bergeron, but it isn’t identified in the documents.

“Strandberg’s footwear did appear to be soiled with a red substance” and his feet were “covered with blood,” with more on his right calf and right knee, Hill wrote.

Strandberg’s criminal history includes convictions for at least six felonies and 21 misdemeanors, according to court officials.

Strandberg’s neighbors said they previously had seen him with his girlfriend at his apartment. But DeRuwe said Bergeron apparently was not the woman neighbors understood was Strandberg’s girlfriend.

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