June 7, 2008 in City

Wife injured, husband dead after reported abduction

The Spokesman-Review
 
The Spokesman-Review photo

Howard
(Full-size photo)

A reported abduction in rural Whitman County on Friday ended with a woman hospitalized and her ex-husband dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Alma Martinez, 32, of Endicott, used text messages to tell her family she had been taken to a farm south of Winona by Efrain Martinez, 40, according to the Whitman County Sheriff’s Office.

Family members arrived at the scene just as she was shot, the Associated Press reported. They took her to a gas station in Endicott, where she was flown to a Deaconess Medical Center in Spokane about 12:40 p.m. She was last reported Friday night to be in stable condition.

Four hours later, Washington State Patrol and Whitman County sheriff’s deputies found the woman’s ex-husband dead in a car parked in a barn on Texas Lake Road, east of Ritzville and north of Endicott, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Staff and wire reports

Spokane

Bird’s nest starts fire at elementary school

The students at Madison Elementary School got a break from class Friday morning after school officials noticed smoke in a building and called the Fire Department at 7:50 a.m. Friday.

Fire crews responded to the school at 319 W. Nebraska Ave., and upgraded the call to a working fire after they saw smoke coming from the rooftop. They investigated and learned that a bird had built a large nest that caught fire in the school’s heating and cooling system.

The nest apparently had been built next to an electrical component that created heat, Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said.

Once firefighters located the threat, it was quickly eliminated and school was able to resume. There was no word on how the birds fared.

Thomas Clouse

Reward offered in hunt for stabbing suspect

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of a man wanted on a charge of first-degree murder.

Benjamin Robert Howard, 22, is a gang member who has extensive criminal history in Spokane County, said Spokane County sheriff’s Sgt. Dave Reagan.

Howard’s previous convictions include possession of a dangerous weapon, obstructing a police investigation and riot. He has three prior felony convictions for drug possession.

Howard is wanted for the stabbing death of Kenneth P. Jordan. According to a court document, the two got into a fight at 3803 E. Frederick Ave., because Jordan woke Howard’s baby, authorities said.

Howard may be hiding out in the Chattaroy area, police investigators said Friday.

Anyone with information regarding Howard’s whereabouts should call (800) 222-8477.

Tipsters do not have to leave a name to collect the cash, but they should leave a code name or number.

Jody Lawrence-Turner


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